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Staff photo by Mike Pare / The former TVA motor pool building on East 10th Street, foreground, sits in front of the seven-story Douglas Heights apartments near M.L. King Boulevard.

A logistics company plans to open a corporate headquarters building in downtown Chattanooga in the vicinity of the growing East M.L. King Boulevard corridor, officials said.

The company plans a renovation of the former TVA motor pool building at 412 E. 10th St., where the business is slated to put 60 people, said Lee Helena, who's representing the site's landlord.

He declined to name the logistics company because an announcement about its plans hasn't been made yet. But the company wants work to start to refurbish the building next year and then grow another 20 jobs in Chattanooga within the first year, Helena said.

"It was really drawn to the aesthetics of the existing building," he said about the brick-and-glass structure that has hundreds of small windows.

Allen Jones of ASA Engineering and Consulting Inc. said officials are working out the specifics of rehabbing the 30,000-square-foot building on the 1.65-acre site that sits directly across 10th Street from the Douglas Heights apartment complex.

"We're still working on those details," he said.

Jones said officials are first trying to figure out the parking on the site. The existing parking lot adjacent to the building is gravel. While there are 65 spaces there, plans are to pave the lot, and the city's zoning code says the number of spaces would shrink when that happens. Jones said a city zoning committee last week gave its OK for 44 spaces.

Helena said he believes nearby property owners may be willing to lease some of their space for the added parking.

The site is now owned by Tenth Street Partners III LLC, according to the Hamilton County assessor of property. The tract is just about a block away from M.L. King Boulevard, which is seeing a flurry of new activity.

Just last week, a Chattanooga developer won the OK for a 24-unit apartment complex on M.L. King near the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

That structure, which will rise three stories on a vacant parcel at M.L. King Boulevard and Palmetto Street, also will hold commercial space as part of a $3 million project, said developer Skip Pond. He said he likes the vibrancy and energy that's building on that part of M.L. King.

Earlier this year, Nashville-based Slim & Husky's pizzeria announced it will anchor a new East M.L. King project. The $2 million project's second and third floors in the 12,000-square-foot structure will hold office space.

Meanwhile, the growth in the transportation and logistics sector in the Chattanooga area has earned it the nickname "Freight Alley."

In October, Chattanooga-based Steam Logistics unveiled plans to create 400 jobs in a nearly $7 million expansion into the historic John Ross Building downtown at Fourth and Market streets, where the company will shift its headquarters.

"We're growing at a fast clip," said Steam Chief Executive Jason Provonsha, adding that the company has seen revenues climb by about 1,000% since 2019.

East M.L. King Boulevard for many years was known as Ninth Street or "The Big 9," serving as the epicenter of the Black community and as a mecca for live music and entertainment with stores, restaurants and hotels.

(READ MORE: 'Big 9' part of M.L. King in downtown Chattanooga to see new 3-story building, mural)

However, the area later struggled with businesses moving out and some dilapidated structures being torn down.

Chattanooga developers Chris Curtis and Bobby Joe Adamson raised a new apartment and commercial building at Douglas and M.L. King in recent years. Also, Curtis is the developer of Douglas Heights, the $41 million, seven-story housing complex on Douglas Street just off M.L. King that opened in 2016.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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