September 2017: Request for proposals issued
Nov. 3: Deadline for submissions
March 9, 2018: Proposed concept designs due
March 15: Winning design team selected
Summer: Fabrication and installation
Summer-fall: Project completion
Source: River City Company
A competition is kicking off to breathe life into a forgotten downtown Chattanooga alley behind a new 10-story apartment building in the 700 block of Market Street.
Backers see a high-end permanent art installation in the alley leading to hip, new public space as well as entertainment and commercial uses.
"For us, we see it as creating public space and as a city center activator," said Amy Donahue, with the downtown nonprofit redevelopment group River City Company, which is directing the competition with Cogent Studio and Public Art Chattanooga.
A request for proposals went out last week in a follow to the original Passageways effort last year. That initiative temporarily jazzed up a handful of alleys in the center city and drew interest from more than 80 architectural firms and design groups worldwide.
The newest competition, called Passageways 2.0, will focus on the 6,200-square-foot alley off of Seventh Street that runs behind the new $30 million Market City Center and its 125 apartments.
Donahue said the winner will have $80,000, with the help of the Benwood and Lyndhurst foundations, to bring an idea to reality in the alley located between Market and Cherry streets.
Jared Heuter, an architect with Cogent Studio in Chattanooga, said the alley was envisioned to be part of the original Passageways effort. But, he said, it was excluded because of the construction of the apartment building — the tallest tower to go up in the central city in decades.
"It's a great alley," Heuter said. "It has got a lot of great businesses backing up to it."
One alley off Cherry Street connecting to the 700-block passageway was among those earlier transformed. That work, dubbed "Urban Chandelier" by the design firm Office Feuerman of Sydney, Australia, will become permanent.
Tiffanie Robinson, president of Lamp Post Properties, said that group is opening up a building it renovated in the 700 block of Cherry which it renamed The Co-op. The building, which for over seven decades held Cooper's Office Supply, has ground-floor access to the 700-block alley, she said.
The Co-op already is about 80 percent leased, Robinson said, with tenants such as WorkHound, a technology logistics company, digital marketer SocialLion along with Rezli, another computer software business.
Craig Peavy, of the architectural firm PV Design, which has its offices on Cherry Street, said the retail and office space in Market City Center will have access to the alley. Also, his building and others also will have access, he said.
"Hopefully there will be a constant flow of people," he said. "It's going to be a big deal."
Kim White, who heads River City, said that instead of creating another temporary alleyway, the 700-block site would be permanent with art, light and activity.
"With such an overwhelmingly positive response to the first round of Passageways, we knew we had to continue this program for downtown," she said.
White added that plans are to maximize the life and use of the temporary work in the other alleys.
Katelyn Kirnie, public art director for the city, said Passageways 2.0 can "add to the fabric of our urban core."