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Staff photo by Mike Pare / A Broad Street building may house a Gordon Food Service Store in downtown Chattanooga.

Downtown Chattanooga's grocery store options may be expanding beyond a proposed Food City.

Gordon Food Service is looking at placing a 26,000-square-foot location on 1817 Broad St., said Chattanooga developer John Wise.

"It would be a good addition to that part of downtown," he said.

Gordon Food Service bills itself as North America's largest privately held and family- managed food-service distribution company with operations in the U.S. and Canada. It serves restaurants, hotels, stadiums, entertainment venues, hospitals, senior living facilities, universities, schools and caterers,

But the Michigan-based company also runs more than 170 Gordon Food Service Store locations, which is the retail division of the business.

"It looks like a normal grocery store," said Wise.

The site eyed for the unit is space behind where Pizza Bros restaurant is located on Broad Street, he said.

"We've got to get through the permitting process," said Wise.

A Gordon Food Service official declined to comment on Friday.

But Wise said that Gordon Food Service could be part of what was described as a small West Village. That's a part of downtown off M.L. King Boulevard and Pine Street with new hotels, restaurants and other businesses that have become a destination for locals and travelers.

Wise, who owns the Pizza Bros building and others between Broad and Chestnut streets in that area, said he's looking at opening another bar and restaurant called Whiskey Cowgirl. It would have a country music theme and a large outdoor entertainment area with a swimming pool, he said.

Also, the developer said he's eyeing a mixed-use building nearby off 20th Street adjacent to where he opened a new apartment building, The Henry Lofts near Finley Stadium, a few years ago. Wise also built the Southside Social bar, grill and bowling alley on Chestnut.

Wise estimated that the area could have an investment of $45 million when all built out.

Wise said that Gordon Food Service is a large company that is moving further into the South.

In Tennessee, the company already operates stores in Knoxville, Murfreesboro, and Cool Springs and Goodlettsville around Nashville.

According to the company's website, its retail stores offer a wide variety of goods, including meat, beverages, dairy, frozen foods, poultry, produce and cleaning suppliers.

At 26,000 square feet, such a location would be about half the size of the proposed Food City at 1305 Broad St. on a 5.7-acre tract that for many years house Carter Distributing Co.'s warehouse.

The Food City project, which is to include residential and commercial components, is expected to go before the city's Form-Based Code Committee for its consideration in February.

Earlier this week, the committee considered potential signs for Gordon Food Service and gave partial approval to a request.

Forbes Magazine in 2019 said the Gordon Food Service was the 22nd largest privately held venture in the United States, with its biggest competitors US Foods and Sysco.

Forbes put Gordon's annual revenues in the year ending October 2019 at $15.5 billion.

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

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