Dreaming Big Along The Riverfront

Urban Story Ventures Reveals Its Vision For The “West End”

Friday, March 22, 2019 - by Ella Kliger

Plans for the new neighborhood of West End are underway on the 112 acres that includes the old Alstom plant. Victor Dover of Dover, Kohl and Partners gave a picture-rich presentation Thursday that showed designs for cultivated community spaces, a corporate headquarters, townhouses, a performance space, and commercial spaces including lodging. Manufacturing jobs are also a part of the equation for the south end of the parcel owned by Jimmy White and Hiren Desai of Urban Story Ventures.

Mr. Dover wrote Street Design: The Secret to Great Cities and Towns and has invested decades studying how to make livable communities. While underscoring that this is a draft that is open to revision, Mr. Dover enthusiastically delivered a talk about how his team visualizes a complete overhaul of the area.

“Cities are never finished, they’re continually works in progress. They’re like giant works of art where many, many people collaborate. So we approach a site like this with a lot of humility because lots of people have already thought about it, and they’ve lived their lives here…{this site} was really like an industrial wall between the city of Chattanooga and its river. There was and is a fence around all 112 acres here. You could only enter and approach the riverfront in this area with permission. And that’s begun changing.” He spoke about the Blue Goose Hollow Trail and how people can walk along the river there, but only a small slice of riverfront property. That is slated to change dramatically.

In their future, the area around Blue Goose Hollow Trail will be expanded into an extensive riverside park that will open onto “prestigious addresses and landmark locations”. Reconnecting people to the river where there has not been access for so long along an industrial tract of land is a key element of West End.

“This should be a place for everybody, not just a playground for the super-rich. It will be a place, we can be pretty certain, where folks with lots of money and choices about where to go will naturally want to be. It’s not hard to figure out how to make it attractive to people with lots of choices, they’ll be choosing it. What we need to spend time also working on is getting the rest of us to have a way to enjoy this space and participate in it, and that’s where the attainable housing components and affordable commerce components come in,” said Mr. Dover. He indicated that size of residential units and scope of views would contribute to price differences.

The residential components were categorized in the presentation under “Attainable Housing”. The elements included intentional inclusivity and workforce housing partners. “The real goal is an affordable life, not just an affordable house,” he said. Mr. Dover described how bringing more jobs to the population center of the region and reducing transportation costs creates a lower total cost. Mr. Dover said “If you have a great restaurant that you want to open in this neighborhood, we want your master chef to have a place to live in this neighborhood, too. That’s the intentionality.” He said that creating below market housing could be done with “a whole suite of tools” such as housing tax credits if those are available, public-private partnerships, and working with employers to consider housing as a method of retention and recruitment.

“When we design a neighborhood, what we’re doing fundamentally is designing human habitat. We’re trying to create a place where people like to be, and can live their lives productively, live healthy and happy lives…The umbrella idea here is a livable neighborhood, a community that’s part of our city-wide ecosystem of civilization,” said Mr. Dover. His understanding of the ecosystem of Chattanooga goes back more than 20 years when he was part of the planning process for development in Southside Chattanooga.

It’s clear that Mr. Dover believes in trees and how they shape a community. The plans call for at least 1500 new trees, shade trees, inviting trees. Encouraging people to walk under those trees is underlined by the 10-point plan for a car-optional neighborhood. “You can actually move around in such a neighborhood without wearing a car,” he said. The plans incorporate bike lanes separated from car lanes by trees, a density plan that brings housing and jobs together in practical ways, and street mapping that results in slower driving and happier pedestrians.

Contributing to green engineering elements are clever wastewater management strategies such as creating a canal and other water features that will be landscaped to attract people while filtering runoff to clean the water before it reaches the Tennessee. Reminders of the history of industrial activity could be kept by transforming some of the buildings into new structures. Mr. Dover imagines the steel skeleton of “Bay 46 kept here, partly remains enclosed, partly remains open to the sky facing the riverfront park. And just for fun we made a beach out of the ADM site.”

In the picture, Bay 46 has CHATTANOOGA across the top and serves as a performance space; there are yellow beach umbrellas where Archer Daniels Midland now loads barges.

Mr. Dover used “What if…” a lot in his talk. The execution of this big picture plan is expected to take at least ten years and will evolve throughout the planning and zoning processes. Public squares, vistas, streets that connect the neighborhood to the river with signature views are threaded through the design. The new pattern of blocks and streets is designed to fan out to maximize the natural views and architecture that might become intertwined with the name of our city. This design template is intended to provide a toolkit for the development of industrial assets into a neighborhood that draws on our history rather than paves over it.

 

 


Northtowne Shopping Center On Highway 153 Sells For $14 Million

Crye-Leike Sets Record Company Sales

Car Wash In East Brainerd Sells For $2,166,667


The Northtowne Centre shopping center in Hixson has sold for $14 million. The 257,744-square-foot center is located at 5450 Highway 153. It includes Hobby Lobby, Ashley Furniture Outlet, ... (click for more)

Crye-Leike Real Estate Services announces that it has experienced its best year in company history, generating $7.5 billion in sales volume and closing 31,578 transactions in 2020. This resulted ... (click for more)

A car wash in East Brainerd has sold for $2,166,667. Goo Goo Car Wash is at 1833 Gunbarrel Road. The sale was to Mjbk Capital Llc from Imo Us Georgia Llc. (click for more)



Real Estate

Northtowne Shopping Center On Highway 153 Sells For $14 Million

The Northtowne Centre shopping center in Hixson has sold for $14 million. The 257,744-square-foot center is located at 5450 Highway 153. It includes Hobby Lobby, Ashley Furniture Outlet, American Freight & Mattress, Dollar Tree and other stores. Officials said the property was recently upgraded. The sale was to Northtown Centre Investors LLC of Weston, Florida. ... (click for more)

Crye-Leike Sets Record Company Sales

Crye-Leike Real Estate Services announces that it has experienced its best year in company history, generating $7.5 billion in sales volume and closing 31,578 transactions in 2020. This resulted in a 13 percent and $1 billion increase from 2019. Despite the obstacles that the year presented, record low mortgage rates, new household formation and heavy buyer interest in moving ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Vehicle Collision Sparks 2-Alarm Commercial Fire On Lee Highway

A traffic accident caused a second alarm commercial fire Thursday morning in the 5800 block of Lee Highway. It happened at 2:47 a.m. when a garbage truck and car collided. They hit a light pole and it caused both vehicles to burst into flames. It sparked a chain reaction and vehicles on the lot of a nearby auto repair business caught fire and then the flames spread to the ... (click for more)

County Schools Will Stay On Virtual Learning Next Week Unless School Board Decides Differently On Thursday Night

Due to the current Phase Tracker level of 1.02 percent based on local COVID-19 trend data for the five-day average, all Hamilton County Schools will continue a remote learning schedule next week. Officials noted that Wednesday ’s active case count was at 3,096 cases versus the peak on Jan. 11 of 4,717 active cases. However, officials said, "The Hamilton County School Board ... (click for more)

Opinion

It's Time For Impact Fees

This letter is regarding the potential high density development on Snowhill Road in Ooltewah. Growth is good. But it needs to be responsible growth. It would be instructive to see studies by other communities who have already gone through this so we can understand just what is the taxpayer cost burden of these high density developments. Additional taxes to add infrastructure, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Vols Ain't Dead

Matt Hayes, a writer for the SaturdayDownSouth.com website, was blistering in his view of what has been allowed to happen to the once-mighty University of Tennessee football program just hours after coach Jeremy Pruitt went down in flames on Monday. “I’ve got some harsh words for those in power at Tennessee, something they don’t want to hear but better embrace. It’s not the 1990s ... (click for more)