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Staff File Photo / Bobby Adamson of the Chattanooga firm Adamson Developers is planning a new 256-unit apartment complex in Ooltewah.

More apartments are headed to the boiling-hot Ooltewah market as a Chattanooga developer is planning a $40 million complex.

The 256-unit project will go on 15.3 vacant acres on Old Lee Highway, said Bobby Adamson of Adamson Developers. He said there will be seven, three-story buildings go up at the site along with a clubhouse.

The developer said that the nearby Volkswagen assembly plant is readying to build a new electric SUV and will hire more employees. This week, a VW staffing contractor is seeking to fill 150 more posts for existing work at the factory.

"There's a demand for more housing," Adamson said, adding that three other developments have opened in the area fairly recently and they're nearly full.

Adamson said that his complex, called the Jewel at Summit Pointe Apartments, received original approval from Hamilton County planners in 2014. But he said he had a different partner for the project then and it has taken time to get it off the ground.

Rents will be market-rate for the apartment complex, Adamson said, which likely will go up in two phases starting this year. Opening is slated for 2022, he said.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is reviewing activity at the site related to a small wetlands, said Greg Adams, a HUD review appraiser in the Atlanta regional office.

He said that lenders approach HUD and ask it to insure such loans, as in the case of the 8062/8074 Old Lee Highway project that Adamson is undertaking. According to HUD, the wetlands are considered to be "low quality and not located within a floodplain."

Adams said the project also could potentially interrupt a stream or a dry creek, depending on the weather. He said the developer will pipe it so water drainage doesn't impact nearby property.

Chattanooga City Councilman Darrin Ledford, who also serves on the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, said this year that the East Hamilton area will see 32% of the county's growth over the next decade.

The Planning Commission since the new year has approved 300 more houses and patio homes for the Ooltewah area.

Jason Farmer, another panel member, said the patio home-type is growing countrywide and more people are choosing such housing as a way to live. He said the Ooltewah area where the new project would locate is one of the most desirable and expensive in the county.

A dispute at a nearby upscale neighborhood has emerged over efforts by its golf course owner to see more houses built near The Ooltewah Club. Course owner Rick Stern sought approval from county planners to create 10 additional home lots inside the Hampton Creek gated community off Snow Hill Road.

Additionally, Stern has plans to create 43 more home lots at the nearby Hampton Village community.

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

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