“It's a great fit. It will add a lot to that corner. It has been a long time coming.”
Six years ago, downtown Chattanooga's key corner at Market and Main streets held a rescue mission where the homeless and downtrodden spent the night.
Next month, at the same site, one of the biggest apartment buildings to go up in the central city's hot Southside will start accepting renters paying upward of $1,350 a month for a two-bedroom unit.
"It's the vibe of the Southside," said Chattanooga developer John Wise about why people will want to live at the apartment building dubbed Mission on Main. "People want to be down there. That's the main corner."
The four-story, 75,000-square-foot building will hold 63 one- and two-story apartments as well as ground-floor commercial space, he said.
Located at a gateway to the central city, the $7 million project is an example of how much has changed in that neighborhood, said Kim White, head of the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group The River City Co.
"It's a great fit," she said. "It will add a lot to that corner. It has been a long time coming."
The building's exterior includes a striking design element of blue colors at the corner, and Wise said the outside look "was controlled by River City," which sold him the property.
"I've had a lot of people ask" about the look, he said.
White said the building went through a design review process. She said she's pleased with the structure, which fits with the elementary school across Market.
Renters, who will pay between $900 to $1,350 per month for the units, will start to move in around the end of January, Wise said.
"Commercial tenants may be lagging behind," he said, noting they'll be settling in around March or April.
Wise said he has "a big-name tenant" who is slated to take about 5,500-square-feet of commercial space on the corner, though he wouldn't provide a name because the lease wasn't finalized.
He said a restaurant may move into the building in 2,800 square feet, and a nail salon is signed up. That will leave about 4,000 square feet, Wise said.
Parking for patrons of the commercial space is located in the rear of the structure, he said.
White said the length of time it has taken to redevelop that site shows how difficult it is build downtown.
Still, the Southside is fast becoming a ripe target for builders, with the South Broad Street corridor especially becoming a preferred spot as more people are interested in living, working and playing downtown.
A Knoxville developer paid $1.5 million for land next to the Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant at South Broad and Main streets, foreseeing a $15 million project with 139 apartments.
Just across South Broad, Chattanooga developer John Straussberger is planning a $5 million mixed-use project in a former Chevrolet dealership.
Also, the Chattanooga City Council recently approved a zoning change to allow a seven-story apartment complex nearby off Cowart Street that was opposed by some neighborhood residents because of its height.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318.