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Staff photo by Mike Pare / A site at Browns Ferry and Pattons Chapel roads off I-24 in Lookout Valley is to hold a QuikTrip travel center. It's unknown at this time if a hotel that currently sits on the tract will stay, according to QuikTrip.

QuikTrip, a major travel center and convenience store operator nationally, is entering the Tennessee market with a planned Chattanooga location.

QuikTrip is proposing to build a location in Lookout Valley off Interstate-24 and Browns Ferry Road, according to the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company.

"We're continuously growing right now," said Aisha Jefferson-Smith, QuikTrip's corporate communications manager. "High traffic areas are where we typically like to grow in."

The company is seeking a permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation at the six-acre parcel located near Browns Ferry and Patten Chapel roads.

If the 24-hour travel center receives the OK, construction could start in May 2021 and likely open in 2022, Jefferson-Smith said.

The convenience store would hold about 8,200 square feet of space, according to a site plan. The facility would have about 60 auto spaces and 10 devoted to trucks, the plan said.

An Americas Best Value Inn & Suites hotel is currently located on the property. Jefferson-Smith said it's unknown at this time if the hotel will stay.

She said the company doesn't typically reveal how much it costs to build a travel center, but it will employ between 20 and 25 employees.

"They'll be working all different shifts," Jefferson-Smith said about the full-service travel center.

QuikTrip operates 41 travel centers and 810 convenience stores.

While the Chattanooga site will be its first in Tennessee, plans are to put others in the Nashville area, the company spokeswoman said.

"It has a strong economy and proximity to other markets we're operating in," she said. "That made [Tennessee] a clear choice in the expansion of the travel center business right now."

The TDEC permit process said that QuikTrip is proposing alterations to Lookout Creek in Chattanooga.

Kim Schofinski of TDEC said the application is considered complete and public notice is posted on the agency's website.

"Currently we have not received any public comments or requests for a public hearing, but that doesn't limit any future comments or requests being submitted during the notice period," she said.

Jefferson-Smith said the company is still waiting to obtain the permit.

"As soon as we get it, we'd like to start," she said.

QuikTrip primarily operates in the Midwest and South, as well as in Arizona.

Founded in 1958, privately held QuikTrip had revenue in the fiscal year ending April 30, 2019, of $11.4 billion, according to Forbes.

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

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