Southside apartments, brew pub in works

Southside apartments, brew pub in works

September 19th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

John Wise, III, president of Wise Construction LLC

John Wise, III, president of Wise Construction LLC

Photo by Juliette Coughlin

In the largest new downtown apartment complex yet, a Chattanooga developer plans to build 160 units along with a brewery and restaurant near Finley Stadium.

"It would have a rooftop bar overlooking Finley Stadium," said developer John Wise about the proposed $4.5 million project across Chestnut Street from the UTC football field.

Stadium Apartments LLC has bought a former manufacturing tract that had housed Southern Fabrication Contractors for $410,000, records show. The plant closed in 2010 when the business filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Wise added that he's negotiating to buy more land from chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride on Chestnut. While the company operates a facility on the next block, Wise said the land he wants to buy is used for equipment storage on the same block as his site. He said he's also talking with a railroad about buying an adjacent sliver of land.

Wise said he doesn't think proximity to the chicken plant, and its recurrent odor, will prove a problem in renting apartments.

"There have been others built and they stay full," he said. Just across Broad Street, a lot of housing including apartments, condominiums and single-family dwellings has been constructed over the past decade or so.

Wise said the one- and two-bedroom apartments, to go on three levels, would rent from about $850 to $1,150 per month.

Kim White, who heads the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co., said Wise has shown the wherewithall to build new apartments. He has put up several apartment and office complexes on Cherokee Boulevard on the North Shore over the past decade. Also, he recently finished a large apartment complex near Pineville Road and Signal Mountain Road.

White said it's time that more development went up near Finley.

"We definitely need apartments," she said. "That could be a catalyst to spur additional activity on that side of downtown."

Wise is seeking to rezone the Southern Fabrication parcel from manufacturing to a commercial zone, C-3. A hearing is slated for Oct. 8 before the Chattanooga and Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

A filing shows an initial footprint for 64 apartments along with that number of parking spaces and the brew pub. Wise said he plans to boost the total to 160 apartments, building out that number in two phases of 80.

He said he'd like to start work in about 70 days on the project. The brew pub would be operated by a local group, which he wouldn't identify. Wise said he plans to save one of the buildings currently on the site.

Earlier this month, a Chattanooga development group led by John Clark broke ground on a 100-unit, $11 million apartment complex at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.