Chattanooga zoning panel approves proposed office tower in the Bend and more business news

Contributed photo / Rendering of the proposed 11-story, 200,000-square-foot office building to be built at the end of Main Street near the intersection of Riverfront Parkway at The Bend.
Contributed photo / Rendering of the proposed 11-story, 200,000-square-foot office building to be built at the end of Main Street near the intersection of Riverfront Parkway at The Bend.

Office tower on Bend backed by zoning panel

A zoning panel on Friday helped clear the way for a plan to raise the tallest new office structure in Chattanooga in about four decades.

Work on the 11-story, 200,000-square-foot office building is expected to start next April at the end of Main Street near the intersection of Riverfront Parkway at The Bend, a mixed-use development on the footprint of the former Alstom site.

"It's an exciting building and project," said Jimmy White of landowner Urban Story Ventures. The proposed $50 million to $60 million project won a variance from the city's Form-Based Code Committee for the building to go up to 160 feet high.

An official for the project said the building is coming in at nearly 156 feet, though it could go a few feet higher depending on construction or other factors.

A nearby 972-space parking garage could cost another $20 million to $25 million, White said.

He said the building will provide rooftop amenities and an outdoor courtyard in the front for potential restaurant seating, which is key amid the pandemic.

"Providing outdoor space and rooftop space is mission critical," White said, adding that he has a number of letters of intent related to leases.

In 2019, Urban Story Ventures revealed possibilities for the entire 121-acre Alstom tract including manufacturing, housing, hotels, offices, a canal, a food hall, the music venue, child care center and more.

Manchin against union advantage for EV credits

Sen. Joe Manchin said Thursday that he opposes a provision in the Build Back Better bill that would give an additional $4,500 in consumer rebates for EVs made by union workers.

The conservative Democrat from West Virginia wields immense power over the final form of the package to enact the rest of President Joe Biden's agenda, which must pass through an evenly divided Senate before becoming law.

Manchin told Automotive News during an event in West Virginia that the EV tax credit provision - spearheaded in the House by Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., and in the Senate by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. - is "not American."

"When I heard about this, what they were putting in the bill, I went right to the sponsor (Stabenow) and I said, 'This is wrong. This can't happen. It's not who we are as a country. It's not how we built this country, and the product should speak for itself," Manchin told the publication.

"We shouldn't use everyone's tax dollars to pick winners and losers. If you're a capitalist economy that we are in society then you let the product speak for itself, and hopefully, we'll get that, that'll be corrected."

Americans turn gloomy over inflation concerns

Americans have turned decidedly gloomy about their financial outlook, and inflation is the main cause of the anxiety, according to a survey released Friday.

The University of Michigan reported that its survey of consumer sentiment fell to its lowest level in a decade in early November. It attributed the decline to "the growing belief among consumers that no effective policies have yet been developed to reduce the damage from surging inflation."

Hampered by supply chain disruptions and labor shortages in some industries, the economy has been straining under rising prices. The government this week reported the steepest inflation in 31 years, with a 6.2% increase in prices in October from a year earlier.

In the Michigan survey, "rising prices for homes, vehicles and durables were reported more frequently than any other time in more than half a century."

- Compiled by Dave Flessner

Upcoming Events