A new wave of housing is washing onto downtown Chattanooga's trendy North Shore as about $50 million in condominiums, townhomes and apartments are underway or planned.
"It's North Shore. It's North Chattanooga," said developer Roddy Henderson, whose 18-unit, $5 million condo complex on North Market Street won a zoning variance from a city panel last month. "We think it will fit in nicely with everything that's there."
In all, nearly 200 new housing units, more than half of those condominiums, are either under construction or may be soon on the North Shore, according to plans.
"There are still developers looking at our city wanting to invest," said Kim White, who heads the downtown nonprofit redevelopment group River City Co. "We're seeing there is demand."
The new investment is startling because it's not as if the North Shore wasn't already taking part in the downtown housing surge.
This past spring, for example, one of the largest new apartment buildings to open in all of downtown — 5 Points Northshore — started taking tenants at Cherokee Boulevard and Manning Street. That 190-unit complex, costing $37 million, was raised by Bristol Development of Franklin, Tennessee.
Still, more apartments are coming to the North Shore. Chattanooga developer John Wise is building a 70-unit complex just up Cherokee Boulevard on a site that formerly held a Tennessee driver's license office.
HOT NORTH SHORE
Among new housing units underway or planned:
* 530 Cherokee Blvd.: 70 apartments
* Cherokee Boulevard and West Bell Avenue: about 52 condos
* 411 Fair Point St.: 26 condos
* Tremont and Tucker streets: about 12 townhomes
* 712 N. Market St.: 18 condos
* Woodland Avenue: six townhomes
* 14 Frazier Ave.: six condos
Wise, who was one of the early apartment builders downtown over the past decade or so, also is eyeing new townhomes off Frazier Avenue at Tremont and Tucker streets.
That $7 million project with about a dozen units isn't without controversy, as some new North Shore home building has drawn concerns from existing residents.
About a half dozen emails were received by Chattanooga's Form-Based Code Committee relating to Wise's proposed Tremont and Tucker project with worries over setbacks, density and construction. That panel approved about half of the requested variances sought by Wise.
Meanwhile, Fletcher Bright Co. has a couple of proposed condo projects totaling around 78 units on the North Shore.
Work has started at The Fairpoint at 411 Fair Point St. off Cherokee Boulevard. The development would feature three levels of condos holding 26 units ranging from the high $200,000s to mid-$400,000s each. With one- and two-bedroom units, the project is slated to go atop a 40-foot knoll for views of the area.
Also, at Cherokee Boulevard and West Bell Avenue, Fletcher Bright Co. recently won zoning variances for a four-level building with about 52 condos it wants to put up at the longtime site of Nikki's restaurant just before the Stringer's Ridge Tunnel.
Cardon Smith, Fletcher Bright Co. vice president, has said construction could begin next year on those condos.
"We're still evaluating the deal and trying to push it forward and make it a reality," Smith said. He said earlier that the company has been working with Nikki's owner James E. Jones on the potential project and that Fletcher Bright has a contract to buy the restaurant property.
On Frazier Avenue near North Market, about a half dozen condos are planned with units going for less than $500,000 to upward of $1.2 million for a penthouse, said Claudio Rondon, a partner in the development group and general contractor.
However, the local preservation group Cornerstones isn't happy that a vintage Frazier Avenue building was torn down to make way for that project.
Almost directly across Frazier Avenue, six high-end townhomes are under construction for part of a high-profile site that formerly held the Town & Country Restaurant for nearly 60 years.
Bill Hall is working with Matt McGauley of Fidelity Trust Co. on the project to be called the Bridge Tender after the cafe by that name that was part of the Town & Country site.
Henderson expects work on his three-level North Market condos to begin early next year, with units ranging from about $300,000 to $600,000 each.
Mike Price of MAP Engineers, who is working with Henderson, cited the discussion now going on related to a potential new city ordinance concerning building on steep slopes and floodplains.
He said Henderson's project wouldn't come to fruition if proposals pass based on a new report by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.