“That area's time has come.”
Amanda Delay of Griffin's Footlong Hotdogs says she's heartened to see new housing and commercial projects spill down East Main Street to the longtime business.
The latest project is right next door where Chattanooga builder Ethan Collier plans to erect 20 townhomes in an estimated $6 million development near the East Main and Central Avenue intersection.
"East Main Street no longer has got a bad name," Delay said Monday. "I'm happy to see it's growing around here."
Collier said plans are to break ground on the more than 1-acre vacant tract near the end of this year on the two- and three-story townhomes.
At between 1,500- and 2,000- square feet in size, the new townhomes are expected to sell for between $250,000 to $300,000 each, he said.
"That area's time has come," Collier said.
As downtown's Southside renewal continues, growth is radiating out such major arteries as East Main into areas where there once was little happening.
"It's really location, location, location," Collier said. "It's fun to see it moving that way."
The proximity to downtown is helping drive the new development, he said.
"Main Street has a real sense of place — a unique character and feel to it," the developer added.
He expects young families will find the new townhomes appealing, particularly due to pricing.
"They're affordable, unlike a lot of what's being built," Collier said.
The site gained rezoning approval earlier this month from manufacturing to urban general commercial zone from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, on which Collier sits as chairman. He said the city council is expected to take up the rezoning case for final approval in May.
Delay said East Main has become more walkable.
"You can walk from here to the river ...," she said. "And you don't have to worry about the vacancies."
Delay is hopeful of seeing even more new development in the area in the future.
"The more the merrier," she said. "The more growth, the more money we make. We're all about making money."
An array of development has already gone up off East Main. At the Central Avenue and East Main intersection, an Atlanta company last year started a $10 million data center because of EPB's smart grid and the city's closeness to major fiber lines.
Collier said his company can build the townhomes without displacing any other housing because of the vacant parcel.
"It doesn't require existing infrastructure to be demolished," he said.
Typically, Collier said, his company's developments tend to be more dense, and the essentially flat geography of the property helps.
He said some units will front both Central and East Main as well as Slayton Street.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6319.