Developer John Wise stands in front of his latest Chattanooga project to open in the 1800 block of Chestnut Street. City leaders are putting together a new zoning package for the future that is based on form, instead of traditional use standards.
They like being near the action.

A Chattanooga developer is seeking new zoning to put up a pair of North Shore apartment complexes as the downtown multi-family building boom shows no signs of slowing.

"People want to move downtown," said developer John Wise. "They like being near the action."

On Monday, Wise will seek rezoning before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission for a tract at 341 Stringer St. near Cherokee Boulevard that will house 71 units.

The $6 million project will hold one- and two-bedroom apartments which will rent from about $850 to $1,300 per month, he said. The units are tentatively called the Henry Apartments after a nephew who died, Wise said.

The site formerly held a state of Tennessee driver's license bureau, which Wise said has been demolished. If the rezoning is approved, he expects work will move quickly.

Also, Wise is seeking rezoning on a parcel at 530 N. Market St. where plans are to put up a three-story building that will hold about 35 units, he said.

That $3.5 million project also will offer one- and two-bedroom units with rents ranging between about $850 and $1,300 monthly, Wise said. Work is expected to start in about four months, he said.

The Planning Commission staff has recommended approval with conditions for both projects.

Wise estimates that his company has built upwards of 800 apartments in the downtown area over the past eight years.

Currently, he has two other apartment projects under construction on the Southside of downtown. Wise is putting up 179 apartments near Finley Stadium as well as 33 units on East Main Street.

Within a few blocks of both of those projects are at least three sizable apartment complexes other developers have started building.

At the rear of the Chattanooga Choo Choo, demolition work has started on an effort to raise a $45 million, 283-unit apartment building.

The Bluebird Row apartments will go up on the site of what had held the Track 29 music venue, said Michael Ramsey of Birmingham, Ala.-based LIV Development.

"We do feel great about the demand. What's not to like with everything going on over there?" asked Ramsey about the Southside and the area around the Choo Choo.

Construction has begin on a new apartment building at 1400 Chestnut St. That five-story complex will offer 210 one- and two-bedroom units developed by Kore LLC, a Birmingham, Ala.-based company.

Also, a Knoxville developer is building a $15 million apartment and retail project near the Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant at Broad and West 17th streets. Developer John Murphy said that 139 apartments along with a parking garage with 200 spaces will be constructed.

In addition, a $20 million, 174-unit apartment building is planned on the Southside, in the first use of a revised city housing incentive program, at 2108 Chestnut St., also near Finley Stadium.

More than 2,500 apartments have either been completed, started or announced in the past couple of years in the downtown, Southside and North Chattanooga areas of Chattanooga.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.