Under Development: Planned apartments target UTC students

Under Development: Planned apartments target UTC students

November 3rd, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Diary

This early rendering shows what the planned five-story student apartment complex at 324 Vine St. could look like when finished.

This early rendering shows what the planned five-story...

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

A private developer is building a new five-story apartment building at the corner of Vine and Lindsay streets designed specifically for college students.

The complex at 324 Vine Street will replace the old Chad's Records store and Toast Cafe, which burned in a fire in February. The building will include about 15 units and each unit will include as many as four beds and two bathrooms, said developer Adam Green, managing director at Green Real Estate Group.

As many as 60 people could live in the facility, called Vine 324 Student Residences. It will cater solely to students by offering communal living and all inclusive rents that could tentatively range between $575 and $790, Green said.

"It's a per-bed institution," he said. "But it's an all-in price -- power, water, access to high speed Internet. Students want something that's more upscale, but at a downscale price. And that's what we're trying to do."

If the plot is rezoned, Green could start construction early next year. The project has earned approval from the Chattanooga Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, but still needs the Chattanooga City Council's OK.

"I don't know if we'll be ready to deliver it for fall, but we'll go as fast as we can," Green said. "There are always students looking for housing."

UTC has been facing a housing shortage, said Chuck Cantrell, UTC's associate vice chancellor of communications and marketing. In fact, 55 students live in the Chattanooga Choo Choo because campus housing is full, he added.

"Clearly we are not able to provide enough housing on our campus to meet the demand that we have, and that's why we're having to use hotels," he said. "Private development around campus helps expand the campus footprint and creates that 24-7 campus we want."

UTC's enrollment hit 11,675 students this year, and the school hopes to hike that number up to about 15,000 students immediately and 18,000 in the long term. But supporting that higher enrollment depends in part on adding housing near campus, Cantrell said.

"There's always been pockets of private housing around," he said. "But as we've grown in student enrollment, demand has grown. So we appreciate private developers coming in and providing quality housing."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@times freepress.com.