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Staff photo by Mike Pare / The former Carter Distributing Co. warehouse site on Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga's Southside is to hold a Food City supermarket in a planned mixed-use project.

A proposed Food City grocery store for downtown Chattanooga is expected to also feature residential and commercial components for the site, a company official said Thursday.

"It will be more of a mixed-use project," said Stephen Spangler, vice president of real estate and site development for Food City owner K-VA-T Food Stores Inc.

Spangler wouldn't say what kind of residences or commercial space would also go on the tract at 1305 Broad St., or how much. But, he said, the redesigned project will benefit the downtown area.

"It will be an improved product," Spangler said. "We revisited the entire design of the project."

The proposed supermarket was shown as a free-standing store when the project was put on the city's Form-Based Code Committee agenda late last year. But the proposal was withdrawn from last December's meeting before the panel could hear it.

Spangler said Food City has been meeting with a lot of downtown stakeholders and design professionals.

"We determined to do additional things to make it a better project," he said. "It took some time."

Emily Mack, president and chief executive of the city's downtown nonprofit redevelopment group River City Co., said she appreciates the considerations and efforts of Food City to create "a vital asset to the central city and surrounding neighborhoods."

"By listening to community voices, using urban design principles, and working to meet the intent and spirit of the Form-Based Code, this unique concept will support walkability to fresh and healthy food to those who have not had access in the past," she said.

The former Carter Distributing Co. warehouse on Broad is the site that Food City has identified for a store about 50,000 square feet in size.

The tract is a large one by downtown standards at 5.7 acres and bordered by Broad, Main, and 13th streets and a greenway.

Spangler said the redesigned Food City plan is being finalized internally and he expected the project to go before the Form-Based Code Committee in February.

"We're working through the last details," he said.

WHAT’S NEXT

The city’s Form-Based Code Committee in February is expected to see plans for a proposed mixed-use project anchored by Food City.

Downtown has seen a lot of growth over the past decade, including an array of new housing. But proponents have said they were continuing to seek a central city supermarket.

Steve Smith, president and CEO of Abingdon, Virginia-based Food City, said late last year that it has heard from a lot of downtown customers expressing the need for a supermarket.

"We try to listen to our customers — that's what good companies do — and we recognize that with all of the building and new residents coming downtown there is a demand for such a store," he said.

Food City operates other stores nearby in St. Elmo and on East 23rd Street, but Smith said the proposed Broad Street location could serve residents, workers and visitors to downtown.

"We're very excited about the possibilities and I think it will be a unique opportunity for us," Smith said.

The Form-Based Code Committee's aim is to promote urban development that conforms with downtown and North Shore policies set by the city.

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

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