Collegedale is the fastest-growing city in the county, according to 2010 U.S Census figures, and Integra Land Company wants to give those new residents somewhere to live. Representatives have approached the city with plans for a 280-unit apartment complex on Little Debbie Parkway.
The Collegedale City Commission is expected to vote to approve or deny the request at the city's April 18 meeting.
"This is a Class A project I don't think the community of Collegedale has seen before," said Integra principal David McDaniel. "We're hoping to bring a new level to what you guys currently have here."
If approved, he said he anticipates starting construction this October, having the first units available next April and the entire project completed by January 2013.
The nearly 20-acre gated community would house amenities like a billiards room, movie theater room, outdoor fireplace, barbecue area and resort-style pool.
"I think the ambiance driving down Little Debbie Parkway would be quite attractive," McDaniel said. "I think a lot of the landscaping and hardscaping we envision going on will be quite dramatic."
He said he is aware of the city's new design guidelines and will comply fully.
He is seeking some variances to town regulations, with a smaller than prescribed landscape buffer as well as four-story as opposed to three-story buildings. In turn, project engineer Mike Price said an extra usable acre has been creatively added to the site in order to meet city density limits, a previous concern for some local officials.
"It's been a challenge for us to recruit commercial developers there," said Greg Vital, who owns the large residential and retirement community of Greenbriar Cove. "We need residential to support that commercial. Yeah, there's some dirt to move, but it's a quality project for the long-term vision of Collegedale. I have no interest in the land or project; I'm just here as a concerned citizen."
There are still 194 undeveloped commercially zoned acres in the city, as well as 182 undeveloped acres that could house commercial and/or residential development, according to Price.
"If someone wanted to develop commercial in Collegedale there is ample land to choose from," he said. "That [C2 property alone] is Hamilton Place Mall and then some. There was some concern that the rezoning of this property would strip away the ability to develop sufficient commercial land within Collegedale's city limits."
The same holds true for the site itself, which is envisioned to become multi-use, with commercial enterprises surrounding the apartments and future office or retail buildings housing residential units upstairs, Price said.
At this time there are no plans for any commercial development by any involved entity, according to Price and McDaniel. In anticipation of such growth, Integra will bring sewer to the area with a pipe large enough to support future development there, Price said.
Vice Mayor Tim Johnson worried about the effect this development and others expected there will have on traffic.
"Our project may not generate a need for [a traffic light] but if commercial comes in there may be some need for it down the road," McDaniel said. "I think it's all a question of what the traffic counts will say. We would want to do what the requirements would tell us to do."
Price said he doesn't foresee a traffic study, which would only be done at the city's request.
"Given the fact of what Little Debbie Parkway's capacity is and what we're proposing, I don't feel a traffic study is really necessary on this," he said.
Integra's last proposed development in the area, on Hunter Road, was turned down by Chattanooga City Council following multiple Planning Commission recommendations to deny and opposition from residents based on density and traffic concerns. The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency had recommended approval.