A home run for the city? Jim Irwin, master developer of Chattanooga's Southside, sees rich potential on the former foundry site

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Jim Irwin, President of New City, LLC, discusses the development of large portion of the former industrial sites in the South Broad Street area. Officials visited the Times Free Press to discuss the future of the South Broad Street area on June 23, 2022. Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Officials visited the Times Free Press to discuss the future of the South Broad Street area on June 23, 2022.

The rusty remnants of the former Wheland and U.S. Pipe foundries on Chattanooga's southside are "a long-time eyesore" to Mayor Tim Kelly and a troubling introduction to what is billed as "Gig City" to millions of motorists entering Chattanooga on Interstate 24.

But to developer Jim Irwin, the 140-acre former manufacturing site offers one of the best opportunities he has seen for an urban revival on one of the gateways to Chattanooga. Irwin, who has spent his career re-imagining brownfield properties in Midwestern and Southern cities, says the former foundries comprise "one of the most beautiful sites in my career" for redevelopment.

"You have Disney World here," he says in describing the prospects for the land between South Broad Street and Interstate 24.

Irwin,