Staff photo by Mike Pare / A 21,400-square-foot retail center is slated to go up on a Hixson tract off Highway 153 near Hamill Road.

A pair of restaurants is already lined up for a new Hixson retail center planned near a heavily traveled Highway 153 intersection.

First Watch, which specializes in serving breakfast, brunch and lunch, plans to open its third Chattanooga eatery at the center that's underway near Hamill Road.

Also, the creators of Mike's Hole in the Wall on the North Shore plan to open a family sports restaurant concept, said Clint Wolford, vice president of Wolford Development.

"They want to try to expand and focus on food," said Wolford.

In addition, he said, the development group is working to land retail users in the 21,400-square-foot center.

An existing building which at one time housed Vision Masters and other businesses is being dismantled to make room for what Wolford called a several-million-dollar project.

The 2-acre site fronts Highway 153 but wraps around a Mapco convenience store on the busy corner, having an added entrance and exit onto Hamill Road.


Highway 153 has about 30,000 vehicles a day traveling on the busy road around Hamill Road, according to Wolford Development.

"That's what makes it so good," Wolford said, giving northbound Highway 153 travelers access to a traffic light to easily get to the center.

The developer said about 70,000 vehicles a day travel the roadway in that area.

"That's the busiest intersection on Highway 153," he said.

Nadim Jubran, marketing and business development manager for First Watch's Capstone Concept LLC, said the business group also likes the Hixson area.

"It makes a lot of sense to open a restaurant there," he said. "We've been working on Hixson for a while. We're finally seeing the building go up."

Jubran said plans are for the 3,200-square-foot First Watch to open in the fall, employing nearly 30 people.

The eatery will have what he termed "an urban farm look," though it will offer the same menu as its Gunbarrel Road restaurant, he said.

Knoxville-based Capstone also is constructing a North Shore First Watch. That location at 300 Cherokee Blvd. is slated to open near the end of March, Jubran said.

John McClellan and Mike Robb opened Mike's Hole in the Wall more than nine years ago.

McClellan has said that Mike's 538 Cherokee Blvd. site will shift to the former location of the Gear Closet at 535 Cherokee Blvd., where the bar and restaurant has a long-term lease.

He estimated he and Robb will invest between $200,000 and $300,000 in the new Cherokee location, vastly expanding Mike's kitchen area.

Wolford said his group is also looking at service-type retail tenants such as medical or dental offices.

"It's got plenty of parking," he said. "It's got great visibility."

Wolford mentioned the center's close proximity to Northgate Mall and the continuing redevelopment there by operator CBL Properties.

"CBL has done good things with it," he said. "They'll continue. That corridor is a good area."

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

This story was updated at 2:55 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 to correct the number of vehicles to 70,000.