Medical offices are first new buildings planned for Old Alstom site in downtown Chattanooga

Staff file photo by Tim Barber / This aerial file photo shows the former Alstom manufacturing site on the east bank of the Tennessee River. Plans are to turn the 112-acre tract into a mixed-use development.

A Chattanooga development group is planning a pair of medical office buildings for the former Alstom site downtown in what would be the first new structures raised on the huge tract.

David Hudson of Artech Design Group, who represented developers John Foy and Todd Phillips, said Thursday that the two buildings would be built in phases at 1201 Riverfront Parkway on the property which has been renamed The Bend.

The first two-story building would hold a surgery center on the ground floor, he told the city's Form-Based Code Committee, which approved 13 variances for the project.

The second phase would include one floor of office space constructed over parking, Hudson said.

He said the project started as one three-story building, but the coronavirus pandemic prompted the developer to split it up into two phases.

Hudson, a member of the Form-Based Code Committee who recused himself, said the medical offices will encompass about 40,000 square feet of space and will be convenient to the local hospitals.

"It's about their clients and their patients being able to have easy access and easy parking," he said. Everybody is really excited about this whole new development."

Chattanooga businessman Jimmy White, whose group is making over the former manufacturing site into a giant mixed-use development, said the medical offices are slated to bring about 70 jobs to The Bend.

Work is slated to start this fall on the medical offices, which are to open in summer 2021.

White said the new jobs would add to the 340 workers who are already on the property, which currently holds business ventures such as Micronics Engineered Filtration Group and Team Title Services.

Manufacturing on the 112-acre riverfront site goes back more than 100 years. For decades, it held Combustion Engineering's operations and later Alstom.

White purchased the former Alstom factory along with local hotel developer Hiren Desai for $30 million in 2018.

White has said the proposed redevelopment of the Alstom property could bring $2 billion to $3 billion in investments, add over $11 million in tax revenue annually for Chattanooga and Hamilton County and spur more than 5,000 jobs.

A lengthy planning effort revealed possibilities for the tract including a 10,000-square-foot food hall and music venue, townhomes, workforce housing, a canal, brewpub, child care center, offices and more, including the reuse of a large manufacturing building.

On Thursday, the Form-Based Code Committee approved a number of technical variances related to the street grid to make way for future development, including the medical offices.

Panel Chairman Jason Havron said the offices "appear to be another well-designed project in the scope of what's going on in that area."

Contact Mike Pare at Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.