Over the past year, Core has been working to launch a series of projects in Chattanooga, working with an established family business, Perimeter Properties, to activate sections of a 140-acre gateway site that they control. If one is driving from Nashville, coming into the city as you turn around that last bend of the Tennessee River, the site is on the right, home of the now-shuttered Wayland Steel plant, which sits ready for future renovation.
Our Vision For The Chattanooga Site
The site that we are working is on the Tennessee River and sits between more developed areas in the city and St. Elmo. The city, working with Gary Chazen and his team at Perimeter Properties, has had the foresight to bring the Riverwalk, Chattanooga’s urban greenway, all the way through the site, so what we will be working on will be trail-oriented development right up my alley!
The site also fronts Broad Street, a main artery coming out of town that also connects to St. Elmo and Lookout Mountain. Broad has the promise of becoming a thriving neighborhood commercial district.
The first site that Core is working on is an 11-acre parcel at 30th and St. Elmo, just a block off Broad. The site is near the Wheland Foundry trailhead and fronts the Chattanooga Creek, which comes through the site on its way to the Tennessee River. We are again planning a series of mixed-use projects using the greenway as an asset. We hope to work our way through this project in one quadrant of the bigger land play and then work in other sections.
We have been working with the Chazen’s and the city to relocate a maintenance center at this trailhead, hoping to replace it with a community center. And we are working with the Trust for Public Land and other allies to create some park space and a possible boat launch for kayaks and canoes, establishing what would become a blueway.
Additionally, we had been working with the family as they seek to bring Chattanooga’s minor league baseball team, The Lookouts, to this land as an economic development opportunity. The Lookouts ownership wants this to happen at a section of the land near 28th and Broad, which is getting a new interchange ramp off Interstate 24. Perimeter Properties have offered to donate 8 acres to the cause.
Other developers who have worked in Atlanta and elsewhere are looking to work in and around the stadium with major renovation and projects, which is where the former U.S. Pipe/Wheland Foundry site sits, thus activating the area, much like our newish stadium for the Nashville Sounds activated that neighborhood at the Bicentennial Mall and Jefferson.
How Does Chattanooga Compare To Nashville?
I am hearing from many of my friends and contacts in Nashville that they love Chattanooga, and what I see is a city that has done many things right, with greenways, google fiber, downtown parks, and preservation of its historic old signature buildings downtown. Sitting between Atlanta, Nashville, Huntsville, and Knoxville with a good interstate network, with great access to the mountains and rivers for hiking, climbing, paddling, and boating, the area has a lot of promise. I sort of look at it and feel like I am looking at a Nashville in the mid-90s, but with some assets that we did not have at that time.
A bonus for me is that my long-term business partner, Joel Solomon, and my long-time CFO, James Weinberg, are both originally from Chattanooga. It feels a bit like a homecoming.