Kenco Group Unveils Vision For Rivermill Complex

Thursday, July 20, 2006

This evening (Thursday) at a private open house, Kenco Group was to share a vision for the future development of its 30-acre RiverMill property at 2001 Riverside Drive, formerly a Quaker Oats complex.

Invited guests will have the opportunity to ride a tethered hot air balloon to the height of a 10-story building, one of the features of the company's 10-year vision for the site. The event is from 3-8 p.m.

In addition to the unveiling of the new RiverMill master plan, the open house is also a joint celebration by Kenco Group, Tune Design, and Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group.

All three companies have moved their corporate headquarters to the renovated mill building, which is now fully occupied.

The new master plan, developed for Kenco Group by Tune Design Architecture & Interiors, shows residential condominiums, high-rise commercial buildings, and smaller retail/commercial buildings.

"By sharing images of how we envision the future buildout for this unique piece of property, we're really inviting the community to dream with us a little bit," said James Kennedy III, chairman of Kenco Group.

According to Mr. Kennedy, Kenco plans to begin the next phase of redevelopment before the end of the year. Over the next 10 years, the company intends to replace all unbuilt areas and existing buildings (except for the renovated mill building) with new buildings in a variety of sizes that will house multiple uses.

"The master planning we are doing for Kenco Group is a way to think about the amount of development and the types of the development that might be right for the site," said Brian Tune, president of Tune Design Architecture & Interiors.

"One of the existing warehouse buildings will probably become "flex space" that could be used for either offices or light industry, or both. We designed that building to have an attractive frontage on Riverside Drive, with truck access that can't be seen from the street."

In addition, medium-density residential might be appropriate next to the river, according to preliminary plans. A ten-story building near the river and smaller office/retail buildings near the site's Wilcox Blvd. entrance are also included in the vision, although nothing is final.

"These images are really more vision than master plan," said Mr. Kennedy. "We think it will look a lot like what the plan shows, but when the dust settles it might look very different. We want to hear from people in the community what kind of development they'd like to see out here. We also want to show off the site. Most people have no idea how much land is out here. The views are just amazing."

"Because we own the site, we can be patient, take our time and develop it in phases as the market is able to support each phase," he adds.

"There seems to be a good market in Chattanooga for flex space, so that's probably the next phase we're building. Residential construction near Manker-Patten Tennis Center shows that downtown development is clearly moving out along Riverside Drive. Within a few years, we think the market will support mixed-use development on Riverside Drive."

Kenco began using the existing 300,000 square feet of warehouse space soon after it purchased the site in 1996. Conversion of the site to new uses following its life as a grain milling complex began in 2004 when the company converted the former mill building to corporate offices and consolidated all of its back offices operations there.

That "Phase One" building is now fully occupied by the corporate headquarters of Kenco Group, Gordon Biersch Restaurant Group, and Tune Design Architecture & Interiors.

Tune Design created interior designs for all three offices and for common areas of the phase 1 building, as well as master planning for the entire 30-acre site and preliminary architectural design for the phase 2 "flex space" building.

Artech Design Group provided architectural design for the conversion of the phase 1 building from industrial to commercial use.


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