Business incubator to add second building

photo Staff Photo by Randall Higgins/Chattanooga Times Free Press Jennifer Jack and her part time employees make the all natural soaps and lotions for her Good Fortune Soap Co. at the Cleveland/Bradley Business Incubator.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Cleveland/Bradley Business Incubator is looking for new businesses with a green touch as it takes the next steps toward expanding.

Carl Hite, president of Cleveland State Community College, signed a construction contract Thursday that will allow work to begin on a second incubator building on the north end of the campus.

Hite suggested the site when the incubator's board of directors first discussed a second building in 2003. The business incubator offers reduced-cost space and services to start-up companies and manufacturers.

"We will be in a position to incubate more small businesses and provide some green alternatives to our area," said Jeff Morelock, incubator board president.

While the building will be of traditional construction, the businesses inside will have some orientation toward environmental products and services, incubator Executive Director Hurley Buff said.

The new building will be called the Cleveland Bradley Energy Center. It will create space for eight new businesses specializing in alternative energy, conservation, recycling and supporting technologies, such as environmentally safe solutions to industries that traditionally have been harmful to the environment.

Plans call for Cleveland State's Alternative Energy Learning Lab to occupy one of the spaces in the new building.

The contractor for the new incubator is Chazler Inc. of Chattanooga. The cost is estimated at $600,000, and construction can begin as soon as state and local fire inspectors finish their work, officials said.

The existing building is on the south side of the Cleveland State campus. It has been upgraded in areas ranging from phone service to fresh paint and security fencing in recent months, Buff said.

"I think it's good for another 10 years," he said.

The incubator project is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Appalachian Regional Commission, the city of Cleveland and Bradley County.

Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfree or 423-314-1029.