Several new developments are under construction in the East Hamilton area, and one emerging Little Debbie Parkway apartment complex is already considering expansion.
"There seem to be a lot of reasons people want to be building out here," said Collegedale Planning Commissioner Jimmy Eller. "I would not have thought the rental market is what it is in the Chattanooga market, but it seems like it is in the 98 percent occupancy."
Integra Land Company Vice President Robert McDaniel said at this point in construction typically between 2 and 3 percent of a development has already been leased, but as of two weeks ago the Integra Hills development had approximately 7 to 8 percent of the development leased.
He said the increased employment opportunities in the area, specifically Volkswagen, Amazon and the companies' suppliers, were a driving force behind bringing high-quality housing to the area.
"Chattanooga is one of the Southeast leaders as far as growing employment," McDaniel said. "When employers come to an area it creates housing needs."
A representative from the Integra Hills apartment complex spoke with Eller regarding the possibility of expanding the apartment complex to include additional buildings. Eller said the conversation came up when he was at the site of the development doing work in his capacity as an employee of Yerbey Concrete company and the developer approached him about the possibility.
According to Eller, phase two of the project could potentially include an additional four to five buildings toward the back half of the property on Little Debbie Parkway. The current street view of both Little Debbie Parkway and Apison Pike would remain as they are now, and no construction would take place at the corner of the two roads, he said.
"I can't comment on [expansion] just yet," said McDaniel. "It's a great market and we'd like to keep going, but there aren't any contracts in place."
Collegedale City Engineer Joe Farrow initially said he saw no reason the city couldn't accommodate the development's expansion but agreed a traffic study might be necessary.
"The development is going well and leasing rates are climbing at a rate that they're considering raising the rates for some units or implementing a phase two," he said. "To that end, I have printed a very quick first blush of what that would look like and wanted to gauge the commission's interest on that possibility."
In addition to positively discussing the possibility of the Integra Hills expansion, the commission also approved a new zoning category that will accommodate large-scale developments like the one North American Development in the works on Apison Pike. Check out next week's edition of the East Hamilton Weekly for a story on that mixed-use development.