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A Chattanooga zoning panel on Thursday approved a four-story, 46-unit condominium complex that would be one of the largest such developments to date in downtown's trendy Southside.

Developer Kevin Boehm said the $10 million to $12 million project would meet a need for such new housing in the area.

"The demand is sky high and the supply is almost non-existent," he said about the condominiums which are planned for 1612 Cowart St.

The city's Form Based Code Committee approved adding a fourth floor to the project, which would offer one- and two-bedroom condos. The developer estimated units would sell from $250,000 to $350,000 each.

The complex calls for 48 parking spaces on the first level at the site which is mostly now a vacant tract.

Boehm said that work could start next year, though he still needs to review the building's economics.

"There's a chance it might not happen. I feel positive about it," he said.

The developer said the fourth floor was needed to help make the construction feasible.

But a neighbor, Janyne Preston, told the panel that she didn't want to see the added level, noting it would block the sun from her single-story residence.

"I'd like to see it developed, but something that fits," she said.

Panel members said they understood her comments, but there are other similar-sized buildings nearby.

"They can build a three story (building) without us," said committee member David Hudson. "Overall, the scale of the building doesn't bother me on the Southside."

Chairman Jason Havron said his office was on nearby Williams Street, but he moved because of construction taking place in the Southside.

"I think the building looks significant," he said. "It will bring in a lot of tax dollars and provide a lot of space for people downtown."

Jim Williamson, another panel member, said one of the problems is the success of the Southside.

"People are selling land for high prices," he said. "It leads us to denser development so people can get their money back."

Chattanooga businessman Adam Kinsey said in an email to the committee that, as a resident of the area, he supported the condo project.

"It's a great housing type for the area and it has plenty of on-site parking," he said.

Craig Kronenberg of Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects said the structure will not be an anomaly in the area.

"The building is in context," he said. "I think it will have a very pleasing relationship to the Bread Factory Lofts across the street."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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