Waterside expansion could add apartments, fitness center, more stores

Waterside expansion could add apartments, fitness center, more stores

August 12th, 2014 by Mitra Malek in Business Around the Region

Document: Waterside Expansion

Proposed expansion of Waterside lifestyle center.

Upscale apartments, a fitness center and a sporting goods store could be in the works for the Waterside property off Interstate 75 at Gunbarrel Road.

Conceptual drawings for the wedge of land near Hamilton Place mall show all of that and more, but nothing is certain.

"We just don't know how exactly the plan will come together yet," said Ken DeFoor, who is developing the property with his brother, Byron.

One thing is certain: On Monday the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval to zoning changes that allow more mixed-use development on the 69 acres. Chattanooga City Council will consider the applications next month.

Planning staff had recommended approval of the requests, which specifically call for changing about 10 acres from residential and planned commerce to mixed-use, and changing 6.5 acres from residential to planned commerce.

A draft titled "Waterside Apartment Plan" shows three- and four-story apartment buildings with 252 units. Two of the buildings show office and retail space on the first floor.

In addition to that, the conceptual master site plan shows a standalone fitness center, an entertainment center, a grocery, a pharmacy, a sporting goods store, at least one restaurant and several retail buildings. A staff report notes that a 36,000-square-foot fitness center is suggested for the 6.5-acre rezone.

An Embassy Suites hotel, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Mellow Mushroom restaurant and hhgregg appliance store are already on the site.

The planning staff's recommendations included a request for dumpsters to be screened and at least 200 feet from Gunbarrel Road. DeFoor requested a 100-foot minimum requirement, and the commission obliged.

"Some of them will be 300 feet," DeFoor said. "We just don't know how exactly the plan will come together yet. We know it's not the most advantageous thing ... to have dumpsters out front."

Planners also requested a 30-foot-deep linear park be built along Gunbarrel Road to create a buffer for the adjacent neighborhood and also to connect Waterside to that area.

DeFoor requested a 20-foot requirement but assured he'd be open to 30 feet if an "extreme" situation required it. Planning commissioners obliged again.

"It's our intent that this will be livable, walk-able, bike-able, all of those 'ables,' " DeFoor said.

No one spoke against any of the requested changes or the Waterside project.

Contact staff writer Mitra Malek at mmalek@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406.