John Wise backs off apartments, plans medical store

John Wise backs off apartments, plans medical store

July 26th, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Around the Region

John Wise, III, president of Wise Construction LLC

Photo by Juliette Coughlin

A Chattanooga developer is putting his plans for a new apartment building on the North Shore on hold after neighbors fought the proposal.

Instead, developer John Wise hopes to revamp the old state's Driver Services Center at 530 Cherokee Blvd., and move a medical supply retailer into the spot, he told the North Shore Design Review Committee on Thursday.

The vacant building will be fitted with 10-foot-tall glass and aluminum garage doors. Wise's original plan called for an additional $2 million, 20-unit apartment building that would have gone up in the empty space beside the driver's services building.

"I still intend to build apartments on that," he said. "I just don't know when."

Neighbor Karen Reid said she's not happy with the compromise.

"I don't feel like as neighbors we're being listened to," she said.

She told North Shore Design Review Committee members that she was afraid the driver's services building will eventually be turned into a restaurant, adding congestion and noise to the neighborhood.

"I don't understand why a medical building would need a patio and a sliding glass door," she said. "We already have noise from Mike's Hole in the Wall and we don't want to see any more noise coming from a commercial property."

Committee members approved the design for the renovation after a short discussion. Member Brooke Bradley-King reasoned that a medical supply business wouldn't generate much noise.

"It's an 8 a.m.. to 5 p.m._ operation, not a 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. operation," she said. Conditions placed on the site when it was rezoned also limit the types of businesses that can move in, the committee pointed out.

Reid said she hopes Wise asks for input from the neighborhood before going forward with the planned apartment building.

"We can't keep him from putting the apartments there," she said. "We just want input into what's going up."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525.