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Staff Photo by Mike Pare / A 42-acre tract off Vance Road is slated to hold a 336-unit apartment building. Zoning and neighborhood meeting signs are shown Wednesday.

One of the largest new apartment complexes in the Brainerd area in years is planned for a 42-acre tract to meet what an official said is a need for more multifamily housing in that part of Chattanooga.

The complex that will hold 336 apartments is proposed for a wooded parcel at 1558 Vance Road near the Sportsbarn East, said Tommy Austin of Austin Real Estate, who's representing North Carolina developer Ardmore Residential.

"It will meet a perceived and actual need for this area," Austin said in a telephone interview. "There has been a concerted effort of leaders to see that need filled."

The site includes a hill with views of the surrounding area, and the developer doesn't plan to cram a lot of units onto the property, he said.

"That's part of the beauty of this," Austin said. "There's not heavy density. There will be a lot of tree canopies left in place."

He said the parcel sits within the city's Brainerd Overlay Zone. That means the project will meet special conditions regarding connectivity for pedestrians and bikers, Austin said. Also, there are certain aesthetic and setback requirements within the zone, he said.

"We'll gladly accommodate all of them," Austin said. He said the main entrance to the complex will be off Vance Road.

According to a site plan, the complex is slated to hold 128 one-bedroom apartments, 160 two-bedroom units and 48 with three bedrooms. The site will have 578 parking spaces.

Austin said rents are expected to range from $1,300 to $2,000 a month.

The developer is seeking a zoning change from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission in June from residential and commercial to multifamily residential. The tract backs up against a Mapco convenience store and is close to a shopping center that holds Planet Fitness and other businesses. A neighborhood also is off Vance Road.

Tim Shaw of Hagen Engineering in Greensboro, North Carolina, said by phone that there's a community meeting set for June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Sportsbarn pavilion.

"We're doing the design part," Shaw said. "We're still working on a plan. We'll have a site plan at the meeting."

One of the advantages of the tract is that it's close to Highway 153 and Interstates 75 and 24, Austin said, also citing the proximity to Chattanooga Airport.

If the project receives the needed approvals from the city, work could start in the first part of 2023, Austin said. Completion would be about 30 months later, he said.

A cost estimate of the project wasn't available.

Ardmore Residential is constructing what Austin said is a similar apartment project in the Collegedale area. Called Ardmore Heights, that complex is to hold about 300 units with completion planned for this year.

That project had won rezoning in 2019 from agricultural to residential despite some opposition from neighbors.

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

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