A 300-unit, $30 million apartment complex proposed for the Summit community is moving ahead after planning commissioners bucked a staff recommendation on Monday and voted unanimously to send the project's rezoning request on to elected county officials for final approval.
Adamson Developers has proposed the apartment complex, dubbed Summit Pointe, on 20.5 acres of primarily single-family residential, (R-1) property in the company's own backyard. The developer is asking to have the property rezoned for multi-family development, or R-3, to allow for the apartments to be erected.
Bobby Joe Adamson, patriarch of the Adamson family and head of Adamson Developers, lives in the Summit community and has deep roots in the area.
His father, the late Charlie D. Adamson, sharecropped the land where Summit Apartments is now proposed. Bobby Joe bought the land in 1982 with intentions to develop it over time and set out in 1990 building single-family homes and town homes, which was not lost on planning commissioners at Monday's meeting.
John Bridger, executive director of the Regional Planning Agency, said the planning staff's 2012 review of the "transitional" area where Adamson wants to build originally called for apartment housing as suitable for the area. But residents at the time opposed apartments.
But Adamson said time has changed the needs of the community, and he said he personally visited with neighbors of the proposed Summit Pointe complex and held a community meeting to hear their needs.
A handful of residents showed up to support the project. There was no opposition at Monday's meeting.
Bridger said Adamson's credibility with residents "makes a difference."
Adamson built, and lives in, the single-family housing immediately behind the proposed apartment site.
He has also developed projects in other parts of the county, including apartments on Eighth Street in downtown Chattanooga and single-family homes off M. L. King Boulevard. But the Summit project is the single largest project his company has undertaken.
"It's new and it's not new," Adamson said.
He said the company has built larger buildings for other projects, but the overall size of the Summit Pointe Apartments project eclipses anything the company has taken on by itself.
But Adamson said the size of the project isn't a deterrent.
"You can't built them but one at a time," he said.
Adamson previously developed plans to build town homes on the property but found that lenders were more apt to finance high-end apartments. He said one of the reasons for building housing is bringing more people to live in the area so it will grow.
"Every time we talk to someone about bringing a McDonald's, a Subway, a Hardee's or a sit-in place to eat ... they jump over us and go to the next exit, over to Collegedale because we don't have enough residents there to support it," he said to planning commissioners.
Charles Adamson, son of Bobby Joe and project manager at Adamson Developers, said Summit Pointe will offer 750- to 1,350-square-foot floor plans, offering one, two and three bedrooms.
Summit Pointe will be a gated community with a 20- by 60-foot pool, a clubhouse, walking trails, a dog park, a tanning and workout facility and an outdoor kitchen with five grilling areas and flatscreen TVs.
"We hope to start on it sometime in spring of [next] year," said Charles. "It's going to be a fast-track job."
Charles said Adamson Developers will build out the apartments all at one time. Future plans call for developing commercial and residential property north and east, eventually extending all the way across Old Lee Highway.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6480.