Speedway gets go-ahead for another store in Chattanooga

Speedway gets go-ahead for another store in Chattanooga

May 13th, 2014 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

This Speedway convenience store opened in 2013 on Bonny Oaks Drive near I-75 in Chattanooga.

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster/Times Free Press.

PROJECT SIZE

• $4.3 million: project cost

• 3,936: Square footage of proposed convenience store

• 6,636: Square footage of car canopy

• 24: Parking spaces in proposal

• 18: Fuel pumps proposed

A long-vacant lot at the corner of North Holtzclaw Avenue and East 3rd Street has been tagged by Marathon Petroleum Corp. to be the home of a new $4.3 million Speedway convenience store and gas station.

The site sits is diagonally opposite of a Mapco station.

At Monday's planning commission meeting, Chattanooga real estate lawyer John Anderson represented Speedway in its request to have the 1.5-acre property rezoned from a residential R-4 zone to a C-2 commercial district.

In its review of the proposition prior to Monday's meeting, regional planning staffers wrote in application documents that they recommended the change be denied, as a gas station "does not align with the [Bushtown community] plan's mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development."

But Anderson said the Bushtown plan calls for things such as convenience stores, and that the Speedway "will be essentially a deli-like option" because of its food offerings.

He also argued that the facility would be a positive economic impact on the community, especially considering it will replace buildings that are currently unused.

But two neighbors of the proposed Speedway spoke up Monday with a clear message that they don't want it near them.

And both cited traffic as the key issue.

George Koontz, also a Chattanooga lawyer, works out of the building at 320 N. Holtzclaw Ave., next-door to the proposed gas station.

"This is going to completely disturb what exists there," he said. "It's going to cause all kinds of traffic problems."

Koontz said he does not wish to see traffic increase on the road right in front of his building, nor increased cuts across his parking lot by walkers headed to the Speedway from the cul-de-sac on Greenwood Avenue.

Gary Weber, vice president of Southeast Orthotics and Prosthetics - just south of Koontz - said the same.

"The traffic is an issue," he said. "We just don't feel that this is the best development here."

Planning Commissioners decided after discussion to give the Speedway project a green light.

Anderson said the store will staff three or four full-time, salaried employees and 12 to 15 part-timers. It will be a 24-hour facility.

Having been approved by planning commissioners, the application will go next before the Chattanooga City Council.

The Holtzclaw store will be the third to hit Chattanooga in recent months, as Speedway beefs up its presence in the state. There are Speedway stores currently under construction in East Ridge and on Lee Highway.

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