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Three model homes are now open daily from 1 to 6 p.m.
As more restaurants and offices expand to Cambridge Square in the Ooltewah area, the residential side to help support those businesses is now underway.
The Cambridge Square commercial district off Highway 64 has grown to 10 buildings and 27 tenants in the past few years, which is the start of a more walkable, high-end way of living for Hamilton County residents, said Jim Cheney, Cambridge Square marketing and leasing director. With 11 homes out of the ground and roughly 30 more planned this year, the 130-acre development is well on its way to being a new kind of "downtown" for the Ooltewah area.
"Ooltewah historically hasn't always had a dense town center," said Cheney, who grew up in Chattanooga but now lives in Nashville. "When I grew up here, it was the dark side of the moon. To see the growth has been phenomenal."
Cheney said the development is one of the first of its kind in the Hamilton County area, which is zoned for 320 homes right next to the commercial side. The neighborhood is designed to be pedestrian-friendly with the commercial square being the number one amenity for residents. That amenity comes at a high price tag though with homes starting in the low $400,000s and ranging to over $1 million.
The new homes are priced more than twice the median sales price of $188,150 for homes sold by Chattanooga Realtors in March. But Cheney said he believes there is a strong market for the more luxurious homes in attractive developments such as Cambridge Square. Many residents who are relocating from other higher-priced and more dense markets are attracted to Cambridge Square, Cheney said.
"This product type is very new to Chattanooga but for other larger markets it's a joy," he said. "People coming from the Northeast, for example, kind of expect this. They are not adverse to density or homes being close together."
The new homes, which feature 18 different types and can be further customized by buyers, are designed with large front porches and minimal yard space to promote residents meeting in communal areas.
"We could do all that traditional stuff you see in a suburban market but to us this commercial district is the best amenity." he said. "It's for people who want that urban home but want to be in the suburban market."
Cheney said five homes have sold and the first residents are expected to move in by the end of summer. The largest of the homes — "The Gramercy," which is not yet available — is 3,714 square feet in size and includes 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
Cheney described the houses as having "architecturally-strict guidelines." Barry Payne Homes and Waters Holland Residential Builders are currently constructing homes in the neighborhood.
The hope for the area is that as more residents move in, the commercial district around it will also grow. In the past few years, well-known local restaurants have expanded to Cambridge Square, including Mojo Burrito, Il Primo and Heaven and Ale Brewing Company.
Josh Nason, managing partner for Il Primo, said Cambridge Square was a unique opportunity for the restaurant to expand from their flagship North Shore location. He said the new location was built specifically for the proximity to guests in the greater Ooltewah area and Cleveland who have been customers at the North Shore restaurant for years.
"We want to remember your name and what you drink, and for us that can only exist in a neighborhood model," he said.
Il Primo's neighborhood brand fits perfectly with the Cambridge Square model, Nason explained. The restaurant opened at Cambridge Square last October, and Nason said even without the residential side, the developers have done a good job of promoting the restaurants and businesses that have already moved into the area.
"We are just a neighborhood restaurant that is waiting for a neighborhood," Nason said.
Contact Allison Shirk at firstname.lastname@example.org, 423-757-6651 or @Allison_Shirk.