Work begins on turning Hixson's former Dupont plant into $100 million industrial park

Site preparations begin for 88-acre North River Commerce Center

Photo by Dave Flessner / Crews remove trees adjacent to the parking at the former Dupont nylon plant in Hixson, which the Chattanooga-based development firm Rise Partners purchased last week.

Work began Monday on preparing what will be one of the biggest new industrial parks in Chattanooga built in more than a decade.

The North River Commerce Center will be constructed on the site of the former Dupont nylon plant, which was once one of Chattanooga's largest manufacturing employers.

The Chattanooga-based development firm Rise Partners last week completed its purchase of 88 acres of the former Dupont plant site in Hixson through one of its subsidiaries, RP Access LLC.

Matt Phillips, a founding partner for Rise Partners who is leading the project, said Monday that Wright Brothers Construction is beginning site work on the vacant parking lot at the former Dupont plant, which is now owned and used by Kordsa and Invista.

"We are planning to have the first building complete by the fall of 2023," Phillips said Monday.

  photo  Photo by Dave Flessner / Work began Monday on clearing the site near the Kordsa plant to a new industrial park known as the North River Commerce Center. Rise Partners, which is planning the $102 million park, bought 88 acres of what was once the Dupont nylon plant on Friday.

On Monday, crews began removing trees adjacent to the largely abandoned parking lots at the Hixson plant where several of the new industrial buildings will be erected.

Ultimately, the developers hope to attract a number of warehouse, manufacturing, distribution and corporate offices to the site and create 600 or more jobs.

To prepare the property, the new owners are having to shut down the walking trail around the Kordsa plant on Access Road. But under the agreement with the city of Chattanooga to gain back a portion of the tax proceeds the new development will produce, Phillips said an easement is being given for the extension of the Tennessee Riverwalk along the Tennessee River portion of the site. That trail should be built next year, Phillips said.

The developers plan to invest $102 million to construct up to 800,000 square feet of new industrial space spread across four buildings near North Access Road.

Through the creation of a tax increment financing district, the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County have agreed to provide the developers with $8.7 million in new property tax revenue generated at the site. That would be paid out over 20 years and cover a portion of the roughly $23.5 million worth of infrastructure costs.

Phillips said the developers are talking with a number of prospective tenants or buyers for sites in the North River Commerce Park, but he said no firm agreements have yet been reached.

A groundbreaking for the first building site is planned next month, Phillips said.

Dupont, which built its nylon plant in Hixson shortly after the end of World War II, was once one of Chattanooga's biggest manufacturing employers with more than 5,000 workers.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

  photo  Photo by Dave Flessner / Crews topple trees as part of the site preparation that began Monday for a new industrial park begin built on the parking lot and undeveloped portions of the former Dupont nylon plant in Hixson.