Million-dollar Cameron Harbor townhouses to rise on the river

Cameron Harbor under construction
Cameron Harbor under construction


* 2006: Orlando company buys part of former Jones-Blair Paint Co. site off Riverfront Parkway and proposes mixed-use development; company files for bankruptcy before project starts * 2007: A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge orders Chattanooga developer Eugene "Buck" Schimpf may be conveyed interest in the tract * 2008: Schimpf unveils plans for townhouses, a hotel, condominiums and boat docks on the site dubbed Cameron Harbor * 2011: Work starts on project's first phase, a SpringHill Suites by Marriott * 2013: A Nashville company, Evergreen Real Estate, proposes cottage-style homes as well as apartments on an 11-acre parcel next to Cameron Harbor. Companies collaborate on the development * 2014: City planners OK housing at the site; work begins on apartments and single-family homes * 2015: Work starts on first phase of a planned 19 million-dollar townhouses at the site Source: News archives

A Washington state couple was looking for a place to retire with Atlanta, Nashville and Florida on their list of potential locations.

But they happened to stop in Chattanooga, liked what they saw and plan to move into a new waterfront townhouse at Cameron Harbor off Riverfront Parkway downtown.

"They said they had no reason to go anyplace else," said Darlene Brown, managing broker for the Chattanooga firm Real Estate Partners.

With apartments and single-family homes already going up at the $100 million Cameron Harbor development, work is starting on its most high-end offerings -- townhouses selling for about $1.2 million each.

Three of five units in the first phase already are pre-sold, Brown said.

In all, plans call for 19 of the four-level, waterfront townhouses to go up adjacent to the SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel with the remainder built as they're sold.

Eugene "Buck" Schimpf of Chattanooga, who is developing the townhouses, said there will be up to 1,000 people living in Cameron Harbor before long.

"We've got a variety of price points," he said.

Two apartment buildings with about 220 units by developer Evergreen Real Estate of Nashville are well underway. Also, work has started on 47 cottage homes of the 73 planned by Evergreen. The cottage homes are selling from under $300,000 to about $550,000. Apartments are expected to rent for from $800 to $2,000 a month.

In addition, Schimpf put 1.25 acres of his property on the market which could hold condominiums or apartments. The developer is asking between $1.75 million and $3.5 million for the tract.

photo Cameron Harbor rendering

"I'm testing the waters," Schimpf said.

Rob Fowler, managing partner of River Street Architecture, said there's not another place in the city with the same mix of units.

"We have coined the term 'Tennessee Coastal' to describe the design," he said of the townhouses. "It is a modern interpretation of both Cape Cod and Southern Traditional design that feels right at home on the river in this urban setting."

The townhouses each will have a private elevator and large, river-facing outdoor living areas on the fourth floor.

Dexter White, owner of Dexter White Construction Co., said the townhouse purchasers will have a lot of options from which to choose. For the two remaining units in the first phase, customization is available as the construction time line allows.

Frank Perez, chief financial officer for First Volunteer Bank, said he purchased one of the single-family homes after moving from Nashville.

"I like the outdoors," he said about being on the river where he can launch a canoe. In addition, he's downtown and less than a mile from his job at the bank, Perez said.

Schimpf said an extension of the Riverwalk is under construction through the site, and dredging is complete for 37 new boat slips.

"It's like having a parking space downtown," he said about the slips. The boat slips, part of the expansion by the city, will be managed by MarineMax, metered and offer EPB power and fiber.

A restaurant pad is finished, though an eatery isn't signed up yet, Schimpf said.

Brown said the timing is right for the work on the townhouses to begin.

"The high-end market has improved tremendously," she said.

Schimpf noted that he has had the vision of downtown construction for many years, having developed the Loveman's building years ago.

"This was going to happen at some time," he said about Cameron Harbor.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

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