More than $400 million in housing, commercial development planned for Chattanooga's riverfront

750 new residences proposed off Amnicola Highway

One of the biggest residential and commercial projects on Chattanooga's riverfront is planned for a 70-acre tract off Amnicola Highway that for many years held the Central Soya feed mill.

The site, with a half-mile of Tennessee River frontage and views into North Chattanooga, will hold about 750 housing units in a project valued at more than $400 million, said Scott Williamson, a vice president for Fletcher Bright Co.

"There's a gorgeous view-shed," he said in a telephone interview, adding the parcel with an official Judd Road address is 4 miles from downtown.

The site also will offer service-type commercial space, Williamson said, potentially with live-work locations.

"The market will dictate how that plays out for us," he said.

In addition, the Chattanooga-based development company is seeking federal permission to put in about 100 boat slips on the river.

"We need a federal permit for the marina piece," Williamson said.

When all the permits are in hand and demolition at the site is finished, he said he expects that work on the project could start late this year or early in 2023.

At more than $400 million when built out, the project would exceed one planned by Chattanooga developer John "Thunder" Thornton. The Riverton residential complex off Lupton Drive, just upriver and on the west side of the Tennessee River from the old Central Soya site, is estimated at about $300 million.

Meanwhile, Chattanooga developers Jimmy White and Hiren Desai are remaking the 121-acre former Alstom property downtown into an industrial-commercial-residential complex. White has said the proposed redevelopment called The Bend could bring $2 billion to $3 billion in investments.

Fletcher Bright Co. is seeking to rezone 59 acres of its land from manufacturing to commercial when the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission meets in June.

The property, not far from Hamilton County's Centre South Riverport, is bordered on one side by South Chickamauga Creek and the Tennessee Riverwalk on another.

Williamson said the project, not yet named, could hold detached single-family units, townhomes and condominiums.

"It's an opportunity to bring a residential development close to downtown Chattanooga," he said. "We're trying to get a development that is pedestrian friendly."

The company purchased the property just before the pandemic hit and has been working to ready it for redevelopment.

The property was bought from food processing giant Archer Daniels Midland but was largely vacant for years, Williamson said.

George Bright, president of the Fletcher Bright Co., said in 2019 by phone that "we think there are opportunities there." The property held large grain towers that were easily seen hovering over the Tennessee River, and it was accepted into the state's program to clean up contaminated properties.

While Bright said at the time there was potential for industrial reuse, the residential market has been white hot for the past couple of years.

"We've seen what housing has been doing and the investment out there," Williamson said.

Central Soya built the feed mill and soy crushing facility in the mid-1950s. It was acquired by ADM in 1991. In 2001, that company announced it planned to close the vegetable oil refinery and hydrogenation facility.

According to the state's cleanup agreement, investigation of the Central Soya property identified the presence of foundry sand, asbestos-containing material, lead-based paint and petroleum-related and/or hazardous substances.

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