Vital 700 block of Market

Vital 700 block of Market

April 14th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Soon after 1838, when "Ross's Landing" became "Chattanooga," the city spread from the Tennessee River westward and "7th and Market" streets became the busy center of downtown.

So it's good news that River City Co. is seeking proposals for new development on the 700 block of Market Street.

While Chattanooga's waterfront was transformer into a tourist attraction, its downtown neighborhoods have been revitalized and new businesses and industry have settled here, much of the 700 block of Market Street has steadily declined.

A section of it has sat vacant, overgrown and unsightly for years. River City hopes to improve the block, along with its 30,000-square-foot Broad Street property next to the Majestic 12, which is now a parking lot. The Urban Design Challenge offered prizes for architects to create potential projects for the properties.

Now, River City is asking developers to propose their ideas for the two sites.

Bids are due by May 28 and construction of the winning bid could begin by mid-2013.

River City hopes proposals for the 700 block include residential units, stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and some green space. Officials also hope to see a parking lot on the site.

So we will watch with much interest as dreamers and practical enterprisers explore the possibilities for improving this block in the heart of our city.

We await the final result with great enthusiasm.