Twenty-five years ago, no one wanted property in what was commonly called North Chattanooga.
With the advent of the Tennessee Aquarium and the burgeoning renaissance of downtown, though, the area has become hot property in part because of its location just a bridge away.
And nothing is hotter on the north side of the Tennessee River than views that overlook the city.
"The value of these views," said Realtor Steve Sharpe of Keller Williams Realty, "is directly related to the resurgence of the downtown area. If the aquarium was never built, the waterfront would have never seen the growth that has made it into the renowned attraction that it is."
Heritage Landing, a condominium community built ahead of the aquarium in the late 1980s, was the first development to take advantage of the location.
Since then, a number of high-rise condominiums have been erected that provide convenience to North Shore shopping and restaurants and a five-minute drive across the river into downtown.
Among the newer condo communities are the Bridgeview of Northshore, The Terrace at Frazier and River Point.
Earlier this week, the Times Free Press and Sharpe received access to four condo properties, including three unfinished high-rise units and a 24-year-old Heritage Landing unit for sale.
The units range from $649,500 to $672,000. The finished prices will vary for the unfinished units depending on how much the developer will complete upon purchase.
"At this price range," said Sharpe, who is not the listing agent for any of the properties, "the buyers [of unfinished units] will more than likely be able to employ designers and architects to turn the buyer's wants, desires and dreams into reality. The build-out process is the ultimate way for buyers to put their mark on their new home. It may take longer, but ultimately it is worth it."
Each unit has or can afford three bedrooms and two to three bathrooms apiece. Each has attached or gated covered parking. Most significantly, each offers splendid views.
"[The] average buyer is going to be an older individual or couple, probably empty-nesters or retirees," said Sharpe. "Since a lot of house could be purchased for the same money, people choose condos for the lifestyle."
Homeowners association fees: $585 per month.
Address: 4 Cherokee Blvd. (No. 510).
Size: 2,842-2,960 square feet.
Bedrooms: Up to buyer.
Bathrooms: Up to buyer.
Amenities: (In building) extra soundproofing, gated underground parking, two elevators, concierge, walking convenience to shopping, restaurants, services; (in unit) 18-foot ceiling in dramatic rounded layout, two wraparound tile decks, one of only three penthouse units.
View: Main rooms of present shell look out to North Chattanooga, but side windows and decks offer views of the Market Street Bridge, Tennessee Aquarium, Walnut Street Bridge and Stringer's Ridge.
Sharpe: "Great space with high ceilings and a unique rotunda area. Large outdoor spaces great for entertaining. Almost a boutique feel to the building, [with] individualized/special treatment given to each tenant [for] a no-worries lifestyle. Super quiet inside each unit ... given how close to Market Street and Frazier Avenue the building is."
Homeowners association fees: $6,127.20 per year.
Address: 345 Frazier Ave. (No. 405).
Size: 2,960 square feet.
Bedrooms: Three possible but decision up to buyer.
Bathrooms: Two and a half possible but decision up to buyer.
Amenities: Secured garage parking, free electric shuttle to downtown is on-site, two decks, numerous windows on three sides, additional off-floor storage, buyer can select finishes, buyer can purchase four additional unfinished penthouse units for a total of 11,000 square feet.
View: Main view of present shell is of Tremont Street and hills of North Chattanooga; windows and one porch offer views of Veterans Bridge and the Tennessee River.
Sharpe: "Unique combination of residential and retail space. Offers the most flexibility in terms of footprint/unit layout. Great views from the front of the building. Has some outdoor entertaining space."
Homeowners association fees: $755 per month.
Address: 1092 Constitution Drive.
Size: 3,194 square feet.
Bathrooms: Three and a half.
Amenities: (Community) 24-hour manned gatehouse, community pools, tennis court, clubhouse, sidewalks; (unit) handsome brick front with mature plantings, two master suites (plus upstairs sitting room could become third bedroom), hardwood floors in three main-floor rooms, floor-to-ceiling cabinets in kitchen, deck off dining room, den with gas-log fireplace, upstairs dressing room currently being used as office, two-car garage.
View: Tennessee River from all rooms in rear of condo and from deck; Maclellan Island, bridges, Hunter Museum of American Art, Lookout Mountain from deck.
Sharpe: "Feels more like a traditional neighborhood than a condo development. Traditional lawn but without the maintenance concerns. Offers the most space for the money [among viewed spaces], and room layout makes for a great entertaining home ... for a large number of guests."
Homeowners association fees: $375 per month.
Address: 554 Whitehall Road (114).
Size: 2,200 square feet.
Bedrooms: Three possible but up to buyer.
Bathrooms: Two and a half possible but up to buyer.
Amenities: Covered and exposed travertine porches, floor-to-ceiling eastern-view windows, open floor plans afford custom kitchen with marble countertops, designer lighting, hardwood floors, 10-foot ceilings, fireplace, home office, full-size pantry and laundry room, two-car garage with storage closet, private elevator.
View: Tennessee River and downtown from eastern view of the current Phase 3 shell of brick development on top of Stringer's Ridge.
Sharpe: "Great units with a lot of interior flexibility. Views of the entire city are amazing. Perfect location for people who want the downtown lifestyle but want to be able to get away from downtown a little bit. Outdoor entertaining space customized with a personal fireplace."