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Staff photo by Dave Flessner / The city and county are moving to limit the property tax breaks previously granted to the Market City Center in the 700 block of Market Street after the facility changed 53 of its 125 apartment units to vacation rentals. / Staff photo by Dave Flessner

A Dollar General store appears headed to Chattanooga's central business district.

A lawyer for the developer of Market City Center on the 700 block of Market Street said Wednesday that plans are for the discount retailer to open a unit in the building.

Attorney Ron Feldman sought approval from the city's Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board (HEB), which technically is the building's owner because the mixed-use structure was awarded a property tax break.

Market City Center was the tallest building to go up in the heart of downtown Chattanooga since the 1970s when it opened in 2017.

The 10-story tower, a $30 million structure that holds 125 apartments along with retail and office, was seen as helping change that part of downtown, which has lagged the revival seen in other areas of the central city.

"We hope it will be a shot in the arm," said Boyd Simpson, chief executive of Atlanta-based The Simpson Organization, which was the developer of the tower that sits next to the SunTrust Bank Building, which the company also owns.

But Market City Center was slow to fill its apartments and commercial space. The Simpson Organization announced earlier that it planned to convert 53 of its apartments into overnight or longer-term travel apartments under the Stay Alfred brand.

That set off a dispute with the city, which had granted a payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) agreement with the developer. The city last month took the issue to court.

But on Wednesday, HEB gave its OK for an agreement that will help clear the way for Dollar General to lease space in the ground floor of the building. Feldman said that Dollar General made the request.

Board attorney Phil Noblett said, however, that the ground floor isn't subject to the PILOT agreement, which involves residential units above the retail and office space in the high-rise building.

"The entire property is owned by HEB," he added.

Board member Lloyd Longnion said he wanted to make sure that approval of the deal relating to the lease would not affect the issue surrounding the longer-term travel apartments.

"I don't want us approving this to settle that argument," he said.

Noblett said the ground floor lease isn't part of the residential portion of the PILOT.

"It's not an issue," he said.

Feldman said he didn't know when the Dollar General would open, and a member of the leasing team with Market City Center declined comment.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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