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City planners on Thursday gave a Chattanooga developer the green light to build a three-story apartment building with a fourth-floor penthouse on the North Shore despite lingering concerns about the building's design.
After the 45-minute debate, North Shore Design Review Committee agreed John Wise can move ahead with plans to build a 36-unit apartment building at 110 Tremont St. Several community members attended the meeting to speak both in support of and against the project.
Neighbor Lisa Strait said she was worried that the $3.5 million apartment complex would increase the area's gridlock.
"That area of Tremont and Fraizer gets enormously congested," she said. "There's a lot of traffic. We have concerns about the parking, the congestion and the garbage."
The building will face Tremont Street and include two 980-square-foot office spaces on the ground floor. The fourth floor will be a penthouse that's set back from the edge of the building.
Wise hired an outside architect to redesign the building after the committee expressed some concerns about the original design, he said.
"We've been doing more traditional architecture and we felt like we needed some help to do something more modern," he said.
The new design will be 44 feet tall but is situated two feet below street level. It includes second and third floor balconies, columns and metal railings. Wise is hoping to add an outdoor patio and fireplace on the north side of the building as well.
"We've worked very, very hard on this project to make sure it complies with all the North Shore guidelines," he told the committee.
Neighbor Bill Wilkerson, a former chairman of the Design Review Committee, said he's glad to see the new building go in.
"Frankly, the only thing I'll miss with this project is a place for my dog to relieve herself in the morning," he said. "It's a great project and they've met the design guidelines."
Wise has set up a 30-year agreement with CARTA to allow residents to park in 75 spaces in the parking garage across the street, he said, and is also planning to add a handful of on-street parking spaces.
Committee member Brook Bradley-King said she's not happy that the building will rise 42 feet above street level, but she is impressed with the changes Wise made to the original design.
"Overall, I think you've done a good job," she said. "You've brought back a completely different building. I just wish it wasn't so tall."
Wise will still need to earn the committee's stamp of approval on landscaping, lighting and signage as the project moves forward. Once construction starts, the building should be complete in about six months.
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6525.