An open house will mark the first phase of Cambridge Square this weekend, kicking off today at 5:30 p.m. with live bluegrass music. Saturday, there will be kids' activities and tours of the site.
One of Hamilton County's biggest mixed-use developments is hitting a milestone as workers have raised the first three of 23 planned commercial buildings at the Ooltewah site.
Cambridge Square, going up on 135 acres off Lee Highway near the entrance to the Honors golf course, also is to hold single-family homes and townhouses for which infrastructure work will start this year, said Barry Payne, the project's general contractor.
"It's eat, work and play in the same development," said Payne.
Work already is moving ahead on a large square that will be open to the public, said Jim Cheney, marketing director for the development, which is expected to cost about $100 million when fully built out in five to seven years.
"We hope it will be a destination," he said.
Barrier Properties is developing the site, which will hold upwards of 240,000 square feet of commercial space, with financial help from the Lupton Co., said Cheney. He termed Ooltewah the fastest growing submarket in Hamilton County.
"A town center was missing in Ooltewah," Cheney said.
One building already up has become headquarters of Independent Healthcare Properties, which develops, owns and operates senior health care communities.
A pair of two-story buildings at the back edge of the square totaling 25,000 square feet of space are about half leased so far, Cheney said.
"This is a bit more pedestrian friendly and accessible than a mall," he said. Southern Burger Co. and Lupi's Pizza Pies are tenants.
More construction is on the way, the officials said.
Tedford Family Dentistry is to begin construction of a medical office in late 2013, and the group has a letter of intent for a restaurant in another building planned nearer to Lee Highway.
Payne said the developer isn't scrimping on construction. The pair of buildings that are for lease are brick on all four sides with upscale details, he said.
"This is the kind of quality we wanted throughout the development," Payne said.
Cheney said the aim is to make the project sustainable long term.
"We hope the tenants will be here 25 years from now," he said.
Cheney said the developer initially has wooed local businesses for the project.
"Local tenants are important to us," he said.
Payne said it will be 2014 before work starts on the housing component, which will go up at the rear of the property. He said residences will range from 1,500- to 3,500 square feet in size.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318.