CORRECTION: This story was updated at 9:36 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, to correct the name of West Main Street. It was previously referred to as East Main Street. The name of Riverfront Parkway in the fifth paragraph was also corrected. It had erroneously been stated at Riverbend Parkway.
The owners of the huge Alstom site in Chattanooga are pre-leasing space for a planned 8-story office building off West Main Street, which they're looking to extend to the Tennessee River.
The development group that bought the 115-acre tract between Riverfront Parkway and the river near downtown are seeking to rezone about 75% of the property from its historic manufacturing to other uses. New plans show that the majority of the site, which the ownership group is tentatively calling "the Bend," would hold commercial, office, residential, civic, entertainment and event space.
"We're working with the city and mayor and trying to figure out the appropriate zoning of the site so the plans can come to fruition," said Jimmy White, president of West End Property LLC.
He said work on the office building and Main Street extension is slated to start next year.
"We'll work with the city to turn it into a public road," said White about the artery that now stops at Riverfront Parkway.
Owners of the 115-acre former Alstom site near downtown plan to seek rezoning of much of the tract from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Nov. 11.
White has said the proposed redevelopment of the property could bring $2 billion to $3 billion in investments, add over $11 million in tax revenue annually for the city and Hamilton County and spur more than 5,000 jobs.
He has called the Alstom site Chattanooga's biggest riverfront revitalization project since Ross's Landing was remade over a decade ago.
In March, after a lengthy planning effort, West End Property revealed possibilities for the tract including housing, hotels, offices, a canal, a food hall, music venue, child care center and more.
Manufacturing on the site goes back more than 100 years. For decades, it held Combustion Engineering's operations and later Alstom and GE Power, which shut down manufacturing and then sold the property to White's group for $30 million last year.
Already, the parcel has attracted a couple of new users who are bringing about 220 jobs to the property.
Micronics Engineered Filtration Group, a New Hampshire-based business, is slated to employ about 140 people doing filter media manufacturing. Team Title Services, which supports real estate buyers and sellers, plans to employ 80 people.
White said the property owners are talking to several different companies, nationally and internationally, about the massive former turbomachiney production plant in the property.
"We're trying to find the right fit," he said.
On the other end of the parcel near the M.L. King Boulevard extension that's underway, White said there are discussions about condominium high rises, medical offices and retail space.
He cited demand for the site, saying that a lot of people want to be downtown but can't find enough land or parking.
"A lot of folks want to participate in the opportunity zone," White said. "I think we've got product that complements downtown."
The Opportunity Zone program was part of tax overhaul package approved by the U.S. Congress in December 2017. The Chattanooga site is one of more than 8,000 census tracts across the U.S. designated as an opportunity zone that qualifies as a "distressed" area where investors who develop can defer federal taxes on capital gains through 2026.
White, who owns the property with Chattanooga hotelier Hiren Desai, said plans are to rezone about 89 acres to comply with the city's form-based code.
"It mirrors downtown," he said about the proposed zoning. "We're attached to downtown. It ought to mirror the density and diversity of downtown."
Desai has termed the infrastructure on the Alstom parcel "unlike any other property in the Southeast."
He said the owners see the site as "the next frontier for Chattanooga, and its revitalization is going to attract jobs and visitors from all over."
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.