48 new apartments planned for South Chattanooga

Staff Photo by Mike Pare / The owner of a vacant parcel at 5103 Central Ave. in South Chattanooga, shown Friday, wants to put up 48 new apartments if rezoning is approved. The site is across 51st Street from a 240-unit complex under construction.

Three floors of apartments along with a level of parking are planned in a project that would bring 48 units of new multifamily housing to South Chattanooga.

A vacant tract at 5103 Central Ave. proposed for the apartments sits across 51st Street from a 240-unit complex that is under construction where work began last year.

Chattanoogan Eda Walldorf, who owns the proposed site, said in a telephone interview there's a need for the new apartments.

"The community has expressed a need for additional housing," she said. "The timing is just right."

Walldorf said that one- and two-bedroom apartments are planned on three levels with garage parking. She said she didn't know what rents would be yet.

"We don't know the project costs," Walldorf said. "I'm excited about the potential project."

An application for rezoning of the nearly half-acre tract to urban general commercial is expected to be heard by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission in February.

Consultant Allen Jones of Stone Creek Consulting, who is working on the proposal, agreed in a telephone interview the need is there for the housing in the area. But he said it's early in the process and that "we're still working through the concept."

In a letter to Planning Commission staff, he said there's a shortage of reasonably priced housing in Chattanooga for sale and rent. One way to help alleviate the shortage, along with rising construction costs, is to allow for added density, he said.

"The request is to build a multiunit apartment building that will help provide new housing options for this growing neighborhood," Jones said.

He said the corner lot is "a good anchor and transition" between a new apartment complex and an industrial park across Central Avenue from an older established neighborhood.

The 240 apartments under construction at 4905 Central Ave. will be the largest such complex in the area in about a decade, officials have said. That $60 million project will offer more affordable housing, officials said last year during a groundbreaking ceremony.

"It can't happen soon enough," Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said at the ceremony.

Called the Reserve at Mountain Pass, it will hold two- and three-bedroom apartments, said Joshua Haston, development manager for LDG Development, at the time.

Plans are to rent to families earning up to 80% of the area median income, Haston said. For a family of four, that would equal $57,000, he said. The parcel will hold eight buildings, each three stories high, when complete, Haston said

That 13.4-acre tract on Central Avenue originally was rezoned residential about four years ago by Chattanooga planners. The parcel formerly held the Frank H. Trotter School and is across the road from a longtime Velsicol Chemical Co. site that is now vacant.

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