A longtime Brainerd office park may see more than 100 new townhomes go up as one of its owners injects housing into the sprawling business center for the first time.
Work has started on the initial 56 townhouses in Midtown Office Park on a vacant tract that's surrounded by some of the office buildings in the 42-acre center.
Called Sofia's Place, the three-level townhouse project at Greenway View Drive and Skurlock Road is easily visible from Interstate 75 as units rise above the mostly single-story buildings that dot the location that was long known as Osborne Office Park.
Chattanooga real estate developer Jimmy White of Urban Story Ventures, which owns part of the business park, said there are vacant parcels and officials believe residential space will draw interest.
"We were trying to figure out the highest and best use," he said in a telephone interview.
White cited the location's proximity to the Chattanooga Airport and a variety of retailers and restaurants in the Brainerd area that's undergoing a renewal. He said the traffic count on nearby Brainerd Road is about 48,000 vehicles daily.
White said plans are to rent the townhomes when work is completed later this year. Rents weren't immediately available.
According to the development group with which White is working, Collier Construction of Chattanooga and RoseRock of Texas, residences will have two- and three-bedroom floor plans with units ranging from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet and offering garage parking.
The development will be a gated community. Delivery of the units will start in the second quarter, officials said. Generation Property Management of Chattanooga will oversee management.
Urban Story Ventures, which bought the center in 2017, sold more than half of the office park last year to Atlanta-based Greenleaf Capital for $22 million.
Greenleaf purchased nearly 280,000 square feet in 10 single-level buildings in the 475,000-square-foot office park. Urban Story kept the multistory structures.
Nathan Etheridge of Greenleaf Capital said the company planned to invest nearly $4 million in renovating and improving the curb appeal of its buildings.
"A focus will be placed on increasing the number of medical and government tenants at the property, creating a hub for these business types with ample surface street parking, individual entrances, dedicated HVACs and direct connectivity to major Chattanooga transportation systems, hospitals and retail destinations," he said in an email last year.
Etheridge said by telephone this week that Greenleaf bought no open land and the new housing is an Urban Story Venture project.
White said the townhomes now underway are the first of potentially two more phases. Another 56 or so units are planned, followed by a smaller third phase, White said.
"The area is primed for some residential development and new retail as well," he said. "With what's going on at the airport and its revitalization, it's an up-and-coming area."
Nearby Chattanooga Airport is undergoing a $28 million expansion.
White said Urban Story had a lot of leasing demand throughout the pandemic.
"We got most of (the buildings) leased up to 90% plus," he said.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318.