Eastside Utility District builds plant at Enterprise South

Eastside Utility District builds plant at Enterprise South

May 28th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Workers from Schaerer Contracting do site preparation work Monday at the corner of Bonny Oaks Drive. and Hickory Valley Road for the new headquarters of the Eastside Utility District. Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press


Enterprise South industrial park was redeveloped from a portion of the former 7,000-acre Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant, which quit making TNT after the Vietnam War ended in the early 1970s.

Enterprise South industrial park has gone from a sprawling empty tract littered with old concrete TNT storage bunkers to a center of high-tech manufacturing and distribution.

Readying for even more growth in that part of Hamilton County, Eastside Utility District is building a $3 million headquarters on the edge of the Enterprise South campus at Bonny Oaks Drive and Hickory Valley Road.

Don Stafford, who heads the distributor that provides water to 20,000 customers, said the area is projected to have a continued commercial and residential upswing.

"We're in the high-growing area," he said, noting the district services the Volkswagen plant, the planned new Amazon facility and provides water to Ooltewah, Collegedale and a part of Bradley County, which is seeing its own upturn.

In four years the number of Eastside customers has jumped 12 percent, figures indicate.

Stafford also cited the planned addition of future apartment complexes in the area.

J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, said the business group is working on a 40-year growth plan for the tri-state region and Hamilton County is growing at a faster pace than in the past.

"There's the potential to grow as fast or faster yet for some time," he said.

Eastside's current offices on Lee Highway with just over 5,000 square feet aren't big enough for the growing utility, Stafford said.

The new facility near the Hamilton County Board of Education's offices will provide 20,000 square feet of space when finished, he said.

The utility will use the first floor and rent out the second, Stafford said.

He said Eastside sold a building it owned at Enterprise South to the county, which it provided to Volkswagen as part of the incentive package to the automaker.

Eastside bought six acres at its new site for $240,000 and received seven more from the city and county. Its 13 acres will hold offices and other facilities, Stafford said.

Plans are to sell its existing Lee Highway site, he said.