Reworked East Brainerd project seeks city's approval

Reworked East Brainerd project seeks city's approval

July 12th, 2014 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

Site plans submitted by Sam Issa for a development he wants to do at the intersection of East Brainerd Road and Ooltewah-Ringgold Road.

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A large East Brainerd development by a Chattanooga contractor looks to have new life after regional planning staffers gave it a thumbs down a month ago.

Now reworked and dubbed The Enclave at East Hamilton, the development by Sam Issa of ANT Development Group is still to sit on 50 acres of undeveloped farmland at the southeast corner of the East Brainerd Road and Ooltewah-Ringgold Road intersection.

But, the project is now slated to have a more town-center feel, according to one advocate.

Issa applied to have the farmland at 9700 East Brainerd Road rezoned a month ago to allow for the construction of apartment homes and commercial space.

Neighbors opposed the development because it will sit among single-family housing and because traffic is already a headache in the area.

Issa pulled his application before June's Chattanooga-Hamilton County Planning Commission meeting and then met with planning staffers to develop a workable site plan.

Robin Derryberry, co-owner of Derryberry PR, said the meeting between planning staff and Issa lasted four hours, but it did produce a product both sides could agree on.

"So they created more or less a town center approach," she said.

What Issa did between this month and last is rework his development so that commercial space takes up 22.5 acres of the site, including the northwest corner of the land, which is already zoned for commercial use.

The new plan calls for a building with 121,500 square feet of retail space, and seven smaller retail spaces with unspecified square footage.

According to planning staff documents, a grocery store is intended for part of the retail space.

Derryberry said the development would save area residents from driving to Gunbarrel Road.

Issa has set apart 24.6 acres for residential use, where he wants an apartment-townhome district. The residential area is to be a "high-end" gated community built by Atlanta firm Greystone Properties, according to a news release.

Greystone Properties is behind Greystone Summit Apartments on Oleander Way in Knoxville.

Part of the the denial from the planning staff last month stemmed from the lack of a site proposal for the residentual portion of the development.

This time, the staff reccommends that planning commissioners approve the development and send it on to the City Council.

In their documents, they note the reduction in retail space from 29.2 to 22.5 acres.

And results from an independent traffic study conducted by Volkert Inc. came back since last month, and the report is that both East Brainerd and Ooltewah-Ringgold roads can handle the added traffic from Issa's develoment.

Residential traffic will empty onto East Brainerd Road.

Issa told the planning staff that he is willing to pay for infrastructure upgrades at the intersection of East Brainerd Road and Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, installing a left turn lane and a turn signal.

If approved, the development is to take shape in phases through spring 2015 and winter 2016.

The application goes before planning commissioners on Monday.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.