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Staff file photo / The U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site is seen looking north from Lookout Mountain in the South Broad District.

New townhouses are planned for a site near the huge U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry tract as a property owner looks to build a multimillion-dollar project.

Mark McCraw, who owns about a half-acre at 503 W. 26th St., said plans are to build about 13 to 15, three-level townhomes in a $4 million to $5 million project close to his 141-acre neighbor.

Each unit will have three bedrooms and two baths with a rooftop deck and a two-car garage, he said.

McCraw said he likes the city's downtown in general and the South Broad District, which is dominated by the sprawling former foundries.

"It's a lot of land," he said. "We're waiting to see what happens there."

A master plan developed in 2018 by a planning group and endorsed by the city is expected to guide future development in the district bounded by the foundry land, Howard School, Interstate-24 and Chattanooga Creek.

The plan foresees an array of new housing along with commercial and retail space, upgraded parks, streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure, including a potential new minor league baseball park and entertainment facility on the foundry site to serve as a catalyst for development.

Mike Mallen, a partner at the company that owns the foundry land, said developers are seeing what's happening in the South Broad District.

"It's this corridor's turn," he said. "It's long overdue."

McCraw is seeking a zoning change for his half-acre lot from manufacturing to Urban General Commercial zone from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Region Planning Commission. That proposal is slated to come before the panel on Oct. 11.

If the rezoning is approved by the commission and the city council, McCraw said work could start in mid to late 2022. The townhomes likely would be finished about a year later, he said.

McCraw said it's too early to say how much the townhouses would cost.

Earlier this year, another Chattanooga group won rezoning to put up a 35-unit townhouse project on the opposite side of Broad Street from McCraw's proposal.

Those townhouses are initially slated for the Southside Gardens neighborhood and would add the largest number of new residential units in that area in decades. Chattanooga real estate developers Hiren Desai and Jimmy White a few years ago bought some 49 parcels in the area.

Also, the Tennessee Department of Transportation last year began construction on the I-24 interchange at Broad and Market streets, improving access to the vacant foundry properties and the rest of the South Broad corridor.

Mallen said the extension of the Riverwalk through the district has permitted people to see what's there.

"It's being comfortable and familiar with a legacy industrial property," he said, adding that there are mixed-used opportunities in the district.

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

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