350 apartments planned for downtown Chattanooga's waterfront

Project with possible $90 million cost would be one of downtown's largest

Staff photo by Mike Pare / A 7-acre tract of land off Manufacturers Road is the proposed site of about 350 new apartments. A Nashville developer is seeking to rezone the property.

A developer is eyeing construction of about 350 new apartments on a vacant Manufacturers Road tract, citing waterfront views into downtown Chattanooga's Ross's Landing from across the river.

Beacon Companies also has plans to build about 10,000 square feet of retail space along the road and offer a site for a riverfront restaurant in the project that's estimated at up to $90 million, said Chris Rudd of the Nashville development group.

The apartment complex at 702 Manufacturers Road just west of the Olgiati Bridge would be one of the largest downtown if it receives city approval.

The company wants to raise two five-story buildings, one holding 74,515 square feet of space and the other 45,540 square feet that would surround a parking deck, according to plans.

Rudd said the site also could hold a section of Riverwalk that's expected to tie into the proposed Moccasin Bend Archaeological District.

"It's a short walk to all the amenities on the North Shore," he said in a telephone interview.

But the 7-acre parcel sits next to a fuel farm and is in a more industrial area where city planners last year expressed reservations about a different apartment complex proposal from an Atlanta developer.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency staff at that time offered concerns about a zoning change for the property, saying it would introduce new multi-family uses in an established industrial area. The Atlanta company eventually withdrew its request.

Beacon is seeking a rezoning of the tract from M-1 Manufacturing to Urban General Commercial. The developer also wants approval to go to five stories from four, according to the Regional Planning Agency.

Rudd said company officials like the North Shore and the access to the waterfront. The property looks across the Tennessee River to Ross's Landing and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee headquarters atop Cameron Hill.

"You've got a great view of the waterfront and downtown Chattanooga," Rudd said.

Just behind the proposed Manufacturers Road commercial space, plans show a motor court with a drop-off loop featuring temporary parking and ride-share offerings.

Nearer the river, the developer is willing to grant the city a public easement with access to the water and the future Riverwalk section, according to plans.

If the site wins rezoning before the Regional Planning Commission next month, the City Council would still need to sign off.

Should the project receive the OKs, Rudd said work could start on the apartments late this year. The first units could come online in about 12 to 14 months, he said.

The biggest new apartment building to go up so far on Chattanooga's busy North Shore opened in 2019 with 190 units. The 5 Points Northshore at Cherokee Boulevard and Manning Street is four stories high.

Also underway on the North Shore is a $17 million mixed-use project at 306 Cherokee Blvd. and 110 Somerville Ave.

"North Chattanooga is one of the hot spots in town," said Chattanooga developer Matt McGauley of Fidelity Trust Co. in an earlier phone interview. "People want to be urban, in walking distance to a lot of places to shop and eat and to have the outdoors and parks."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.