Plan Underway For Utilization Of Some Of Unum Lots; Updates Expected At Miller Park, Including Possible New Building; Development Proposals Out At 700 Block Market

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kim White, River City Company, told EPB board members on Friday that a study has been carried out of utilization of the extensive Unum parking lots.

She said Unum has, in effect, been holding the property "as a land bank." She said, "The time is right" for some of the lots to be developed.

Ms. White said for the past two weeks an independent group has been analyzing possible uses for the lots.

She said, "We are in the final stage of a plan" that would also include new links with the sprawling UTC campus.

She added, "Then we should see some significant movement on some of these parcels."

Ms. White also said changes are coming at Miller Park, which she said was designed 20 years ago when parks were considered sedentary spaces. She said parks are now viewed as active, lively spots.

She said the city may include funds in the upcoming budget for the Miller Park changes, which she said may include a building at one end similar to the one at Miller Plaza across MLK Boulevard.

 Ms. White also told the board there is a glut of office space in downtown Chattanooga, but a pent up demand for living units. 

She said downtown could absorb up to 2,400 more units.

Ms. White said those will include the former Ross Hotel that River City recently bought at Patten Parkway.

She said the high-rise Chattanooga Bank Building and the Maclellan Building would be prime spots for residential units.

Ms. White also said River City has sent out requests for proposals for the development of 77 units of housing and 13,000 square feet of retail at the long vacant 700 block of Market Street owned by River City.

She asked the board to provide $25,000 per year for the next four years for salaries for the five and a half staff members at River City. That would be 12.5 percent of the needed funds for operations, she said. Chairman Joe Ferguson said the board will consider the request. 

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