300 new apartments, townhouses planned near future Chattanooga Lookouts stadium

Staff Photo by Mike Pare / A zoning sign sits Monday on Williams Street between West 26th and 27th streets in the South Broad District. A tract is slated to hold new apartments and townhouses near the planned new Chattanooga Lookouts stadium.

A proposal for 300 new apartments and townhouses just blocks away from the site of the future Chattanooga Lookouts ballpark won approval from a planning panel on Monday.

The project, estimated at from $60 million to $80 million, would put the planned housing in the heart of the South Broad District on a now mostly vacant tract at Williams and West 27th streets, said Allen Jones of Stone Creek Consulting in an interview.

"It's close to the new ballpark," he said after a rezoning of the 4.3-acre site for the project received the OK from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. "It's a new neighborhood quickly springing up."

Jones said the development will be market-rate housing, but he didn't have any rents for the planned apartments yet. He said about 65% of the project will be apartments. The townhouses will be for sale, but Jones didn't have price points.

Jones said he'd like to see work start this year on the new housing, which could go five stories high, but the City Council still needs to give its OK for a rezoning of the tract.

He said that Chattanooga developer Hiren Desai, who heads the hotel firm 3H Group, is a partner in the project.

Earlier, Desai proposed a new three-story apartment building just across 26th Street from the planned new housing.

That complex would hold 63 apartments -- all one-bedroom, according to plans.

Brett Tabor of MAP Engineers said in an earlier telephone interview that those units will range in size from 562 to 686 square feet, and he estimated the project at $7.5 million.

"They've done market studies of what would work well there," he said, adding that the opening of those apartments was likely in 2024.

Jones said the latest proposal is to include structured parking for residents. Also, there will be some commercial units on the ground floor such as for a coffee shop, the consultant said.

"It would create a tremendous development opportunity for South Broad," Jones said. "You've got access to downtown."

  photo  Staff Photo / Hiren Desai, founder and CEO of 3H Group Hotels, speaks in 2021 with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in his office at 3H's corporate headquarters in Chattanooga.

The proposal sits inside a 470-acre special tax district created by the city and county to help fund the planned multiuse Lookouts stadium that would replace the club's downtown riverfront location.

The district would allow the city and county to capture a portion of additional property tax revenue generated by new development to help pay down 30-year bonds for the stadium.

The district includes not just the 120 acres of developable U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry property where the stadium is to go, but the South Broad area around it. Also included are a number of tracts south of Chattanooga Creek, including a site for a proposed greenway connecting to Alton Park.

Last year, a developer won approval to build a seven-story apartment complex close to the former foundry site. That plan by RFM Development Co. for land at 2378 Chestnut St. calls for 245 one- and two-bedroom apartments coupled with bottom floor commercial space on the property.

Also, the owner of the old foundry site is moving ahead with the future reuse of the first 45 acres of the South Broad tract. Landowner Perimeter Properties has crafted a brownfield voluntary agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The 45 acres is where Core Development of Nashville has indicated it's looking at redeveloping 11 acres in a potential $160 million residential and commercial project.

Groundbreaking for the proposed $79.4 million Lookouts stadium could take place in April, officials said last year.

A city official said then that the time frame for breaking ground would allow for a planned April 2025 opening for the ballpark, where the Lookouts owners would like to start the team's minor league baseball season that year.

The newly created city-county Sports Authority panel plans to issue up to $80 million in bonds to fund construction of the facility.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.