An area around a key Chattanooga intersection is drawing the attention of apartment developers, with a second major complex planned for the location.
A $20 million apartment project is proposed on Lee Highway near Highway 153 in a project that could bring 132 units to a tract that had long held a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, said Chattanooga developer John Wise.
"We're trying to revitalize the property," Wise said in a phone interview about the parcel that's a little more than 3 acres at 6011 Lee Highway. "It needs a little love."
About 99 one-bedroom units and 33 two-bedroom units are planned in the complex, according to a site plan filed with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.
The location would have five three-story buildings along with 200 parking spaces, the plan shows.
The developer is seeking a rezoning of the property from commercial to urban general commercial to enable more density, according to the filing. The rezoning is slated for review by the Planning Commission in August.
If approved, Wise said, work likely would start early next year and take about 18 months.
He said he likes the high traffic count in the area, where an even larger apartment complex is underway nearby in a part of the city that historically has held a lot of commercial space with single-family homes on the outskirts.
Last year, site work started on a 42-acre wooded parcel at 1558 Vance Road behind the Sportsbarn East, where a 336-unit apartment project is going up.
Tommy Austin of Austin Real Estate, who has represented North Carolina developer Ardmore Residential, said in an earlier phone interview that the Vance Road apartments will meet "a perceived and actual need for this area."
According to a site plan, that complex is to hold 128 one-bedroom apartments, 160 two-bedroom units and 48 with three bedrooms. The development will have 578 parking spaces.
Austin said one of the advantages of the tract is that it's close to Highway 153 and Interstates 75 and 24, and it's also near Chattanooga Airport.
The developer had earlier won a zoning change from the Planning Commission from residential and commercial to multifamily residential. The property backs up against a Mapco convenience store and is close to a shopping center that holds Planet Fitness and other businesses.
The proposed Wise development across Lee Highway sits next to an office center and a Sam's Club.
Wise said the apartment sector of the housing market is "pretty strong."
"It's still doing fine, still in Chattanooga," he said, even amid the recent series of interest rate hikes approved by the Federal Reserve.