The Sav A Lot grocery in Red Bank, which opened more than two decades ago on the site of a former Kroger supermarket, is closing to make way for a planned townhouse and office development on Dayton Boulevard in Red Bank.
Sav A Lot is selling out its remaining merchandise with clearance sales on its remaining items.
Most of the rest of the storefronts in the 47-year-old shopping center are already vacated, although Green's Design Supply and a shop called My Liquor Tobacco and Beer continued to operate this week.
Red Bank City Manager Martin Granum said Monday that the city is being asked to rezone the site to allow for construction of 38 townhomes along with offices and other commercial development.
A proposal by Rise Partners, a Chattanooga real estate firm that specializes in buying and repositioning commercial properties, calls for the existing 23,343-square-foot Sav A Lot store to be converted to offices and for the construction of 28 2-story townhomes and 10 3-story townhomes on the rest of the property.
Geoff Smith, one of the founding partners of Rise Partners, said in a phone interview Monday that Rise Partners has yet to complete the purchase of the property and it is still too preliminary to discuss details of the development. But Rise Partners has asked the city of Red Bank to rezone the site to a C-3 Neighborhood Commercial zoning.
Originally, the developers proposed a zoning change to RT-1, Residential Townhouse zone. But after discussions with planning staff, the developer agreed to revise the request. As a result of the changes, a planned public hearing last week was canceled by the Red Bank planning commission.
"As a condition of the rezoning, the city of Red Bank is asking that they meet the city's Design Review Standards, and the final site plan will therefore differ from the concept plan that was submitted with the rezoning," Granum said in an email Monday.
In 2020, ImmunoTek Bio Centers, the nation's largest independent plasma donation company based in Pueblo, Colorado, had proposed converting the Sav A Lot grocery outlet into a blood plasma donation collection center. But the application to locate a plasma donation center at the Dayton Boulevard store was turned down, and the Red Bank Commission voted for a six-month moratorium to develop an ordinance to govern where such businesses may locate.
During a hearing in the summer of 2020, residents complained about the type of clientele that a plasma donation center would attract.
Red Bank Mayor Hollie Berry said Monday she is "grateful to the former commission for their responsiveness to our communities' objections to that proposal," which she said has led to a better plan from Rise Partners.
"One benefit of Red Bank being a landlocked enclave completely bounded in on all sides by Chattanooga is that we've managed to avoid the fiscally unsustainable sprawling development pattern that has plagued most North American cities for decades," Berry said in an email statement. "In order to reap the benefits of our beautifully compact city limits however, we must optimize each parcel inside for its highest and best use.This development has the potential to do just that with a mixed-use residential and commercial design."
Berry said the developer has expressed an interest in including a taproom or brewery on the site, if they can secure a tenant, which Berry said would provide a further boost in tax collections for the city.
"Additional residential units will also increase the customer base for nearby businesses, as well as improve the property tax generated per acre on site," Berry said. "While the preliminary concept design is not perfect, it is important to remember it is only a starting point."
The planning commission will consider the rezoning later in February.
The discount grocery chain Sav A Lot will continue to operate other local grocery stores in East Chattanooga on Dodson Avenue, in East Ridge on Ringgold Road, in Hixson on Middle Valley Road, in Fort Oglethorpe on Lafayette Road and in Whitwell on Highway 28.
The closing of the store on Dayton Pike will leave Red Bank with only one full-service grocery store - the Food City supermarket at Dayton Boulevard and Morrison Springs Road.
"I do regret the loss of a full-size grocery store, as do many neighborhood residents, but it's important to note that the owner of Sav A Lot had already made the tough decision to close their doors whether this rezoning or sale were to go through or not," Berry said.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or 423-757-6340.