Staff photo by Mike Pare / The Great Value Inn on Dayton Boulevard, for many years known as the Cherokee Motel, is slated to be turned into self-storage units and a commercial and retail center.

The site of a Red Bank motel, where some buildings date back to when Dwight Eisenhower was president, is slated for new use to help meet downtown Chattanooga's changing housing market.

The Great Value Inn on Dayton Boulevard, for many years known as the Cherokee Motel, is expected to be torn down to make way for 600 self-storage units and a retail and commercial center, officials said.

The $6.3 million project, located just north of the Stringers Ridge Tunnel, will help meet a growing need for self-storage as apartments continue to spring up nearby, said John Mitchum, a real estate broker for ReMax Renaissance Realtors.

"People who live in apartments need somewhere to store their stuff," he said.

Mitchum said Nashville-based Natchez Group is buying the land from Savi LLC. The 2-acre tract that holds the motel has some buildings dating to 1955.

Work will start soon after the deal closes in mid-September on about 75,000 square feet of storage space, some of it climate controlled, Mitchum said. The size of the units, housed in a three-story configuration, will vary widely, he said.

The 4,500-square-foot commercial and retail component will go up later and front Dayton Boulevard, Mitchum said.

Red Bank Mayor John Roberts said the project is part of continuing growth on the boulevard.

"We're going to help recruit retail to the site," he said.

The motel's structures have deteriorated over the years, and Roberts said he "looks forward to that being gone."

Downtown Chattanooga apartment living has exploded in recent years. Some 2,100 new units will be available to rent in the central city over the next couple of years. Chattanooga officials recently reworked a tax incentive program, with Mayor Andy Berke saying the city no longer needs to focus on giving breaks to developers for market rate housing.

Mitchum said multi-family living is "a hot-ticket item" in Chattanooga.

"Those occupancy rates are still high," he said.

The real estate broker said the Dayton Boulevard storage units will be convenient to access given their location near North Chattanooga and the North Shore. He expected the units to open in spring 2017.

"It's still a convenient location," Mitchum said. "They're just putting a new use in."

Earlier this year, The Natchez Group unveiled plans to build an eight-story facility in the SoBro neighborhood of Nashville, according to industry publication Inside Self Storage. That self-storage facility will have up to 1,000 units and two small offices, with the ground-floor office space tabbed at 1,710 gross square feet.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.