A pair of Chattanooga businessmen plan to build luxury garage condos aimed at owners of vintage autos or recreational vehicles or people who want a business office, wood shop or gym.
"Demand so far has been really encouraging," said Adam Kinsey, who is joining with business partner Eric Cummings in the venture estimated at $7 million.
The garage condos, which they said would be the first of their kind in Chattanooga, could range from 720 square feet to 3,000 square feet. But most of the condos likely would comprise about 1,000 square feet of space, they said.
"There are varying number of sizes for these for different types of use," said Cummings.
A 2-acre tract in East Brainerd near Council Fire will hold the development's first phase of 34 units, Kinsey said. A similar second phase is planned at the gated site which also would hold a clubhouse for community use, he said.
Unlike storage units which are rented, garage condos belong to their owners. The cost of each condo would be about $145 per square foot, or $145,000 for a 1,000-square-foot unit, they said.
The versatility of the spaces in the proposed development is what makes the units popular in other parts of the country, said Cummings.
"This takes storage and puts it in a complete other level and it has functional space you own," he said.
Buyers purchase the shell for their units, which then can be improved by the owner, they said.
Premium shells have heating and air-conditioning and offer a separate entry next to the garage door, the businessmen said.
Also, units can be stubbed for plumbing so an owner can put in a bathroom and kitchenette, they said.
"People customize these spaces for their need," Cummings said. "Everyone does something slightly different."
Some even include a mezzanine level for added space, he said.
In addition, each unit comes pre-wired for high-speed internet, TV, telephone and additional security.
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The exteriors will be similar to a pre-engineered steel building, but elevated to serve as a luxury garage community, the businessmen said.
Kinsey said uses of the condo units may depend on geographic location. On the outskirts of downtown, someone could use one as a business development center or co-working space, he said. In a downtown setting, light manufacturing could work, the businessman said.
"As soon as he told me I immediately said we're doing this. This is a winner," Kinsey said.
The pair are calling the business Homebase.
Cummings said the concept is popular west of the Mississippi River, noting he had a family friend visit him from Colorado who was enthusiastic about the condos.
"He has been on a waiting list for four years to buy a unit and he finally did," he said. "He goes there four days a week. It's his space."
Cummings said his friend's wife likes it because they've cleaned out the garage in their residence.
Kinsey said almost no garage condos exist in the Southeast and they plan to expand the concept to other cities.
"We're taking a proven concept and introducing it to the region," he said. "We want to do 25 or 30 across the Southeast. We feel like there's a huge need not just in Chattanooga but across the Southeast."
He said they picked the Julian Road location near Council Fire as it's close to not only that residential development but others such as Windstone and Mountain Shadows.
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