A Chattanooga developer said Thursday he plans to move ahead with a $17 million North Shore project that now will include more apartments in addition to office space.
A new 15,794-square-foot, two-story building is to go up at 306 Cherokee Blvd., said Matt McGauley, president of Fidelity Trust Co., which won a variance from a city panel for the development.
He said the bottom floor of the planned building near Chattanooga's business incubator will hold medical offices while the top level will house a half dozen apartments.
The new building will join a revamp of the former long-time Chattanooga Printing and Engraving Building, which sits nearby at 110 Somerville Ave. That structure will have office space and a three-level addition with 21 apartments, said McGauley.
In all, the project will have more than 63,000 square feet in the middle of the North Shore, he told the city's Form-Based Code Committee.
"This keeps the overall project vision of a live-work campus," McGauley said. "This site is centrally located and there's a lot to do in the area. It's where the action is."
Last month, McGauley won the panel's OK for the Somerville Avenue site. He then proposed a one-story building for 306 Cherokee, but asked for a deferral after some panel members balked at that proposal. McGauley said the new two-story building adds about $2 million to the entire project.
He said there are a pair of anchor tenants which have pre-leased 40,000 square feet of the Somerville building. The developer said the entrance to the Chattanooga Printing building will be from Cherokee.
On Thursday, the city panel gave McGauley a variance to increase the width of the driveway to 24 feet for the Cherokee property, which currentlly contains a one-story building that will be torn down.
McGauley also had initially sought a change to the planned landscape islands in the parking lot, but withdrew that request amid questions by panel members.
Zach McManus and Denise Shaw each wondered if a hardship existed to permit the landscaping change.
"It's a preference," McManus said.
David Hudson, another panel member, said the change to the driveway is something the board has dealt with before on other projects.
"We've granted this in the past," he said. "It seems to be something we're asked more and more to look at. I think there will be a significant amount of cars going out of the driveway. It will be serving this building and the building in the rear. I don't take issue provided [the Chattanooga Department of Transportation] doesn't take issue with it."
McGauley said it was vital to receive approval for the driveway to keep traffic safe and functional.
He expects work on the project to start in late July or early August and the first tenants to move in about a year later.
The apartments on Cherokee will be 1,000 square feet each and likely one bedroom units, the developer said, but he didn't have rental prices yet.
"North Chattanooga is one of the hot spots in town," McGauley said. "People want to be urban, in walking distance to a lot of places to shop and eat and to have the outdoors and parks."
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.