New multi-family units proposed near Erlanger, UTC

photo Site of proposed multifamily residential complex on Riverside Drive.
photo Developers plan to build apartments on the 18 acres occupied by the shuttered Cumberland Corp., also known as Cannon Equipment, at 950 Riverside Drive.

A new multifamily residential complex with 387 units could soon rise on the site of a shuttered manufacturing plant on Riverside Drive.

Developer Chris Senn will ask the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Tuesday for approval to rezone the nearly 18-acre swath of land at 950 Riverside Drive -- the site of the old Cumberland Corp. and Cannon Equipment factory -- from manufacturing to residential.

The site is behind Erlanger and near the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Senn, vice president of Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial in Augusta, Ga., hopes to build several three- and four-story buildings on the parcel, as well as a clubhouse and a pool, according to planning agency documents. Senn has been working on the project for several months, but was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Regional planning staff recommended that the commission approve the rezoning and give the project the go ahead, in part because it's a difficult tract of land to build on. The lot is surrounded by manufacturing, and is buffered by Citico Creek, a Tennessee-American water treatment plant, Erlanger, wetlands and a rail yard.

However, the city's proposed expansion of Central Avenue could extend right through the complex, planners noted.

"The applicant's plan does indicate buildings fronting on the proposed Central Avenue extension, which is anticipated to have pedestrian-oriented features such as sidewalks, bike lanes and street trees," the Regional Planning Agency summary reads.

If approved, the project would be one of the largest such complexes within striking distance of downtown. Cameron Harbor, another riverside project underway on the other side of downtown, is slated to create 235 apartments, 30 condominiums, 19 luxury townhomes, 20 single-family homes and 71 cottage homes.

But experts said that Chattanooga's housing market is strong enough to absorb the new supply of units.

"There is definitely a demand for more units in downtown Chattanooga," said Justin Uffinger, associate at Rock Apartment Advisors. "There is definitely pent up demand."

If the project gets the go-ahead from the planning commission during Tuesday's meeting, the rezoning request will then need a vote of approval from the Chattanooga City Council.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or with tips or story ideas.