Approval Given For $115 Million TIF For Westside, Bend Projects

  • Monday, March 25, 2024

The City Industrial Development Board on Monday gave final approval to a $115 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for the Westside rebuild and The Bend project at the 300-acre Alstom site.

The tax proceeds from within the district will go toward infrastructure at The Bend and affordable housing at the Westside.

TIF funds will also support the funding of a new school at the Gateway site, formerly owned by BlueCross BlueShield.

Officials said, "The new TIF district and Westside Evolves are expected to conservatively unlock a minimum of $800 million in new development over the next 10 years, including the construction of infrastructure, educational opportunities, and new affordable housing.

"The Bend will be transformed from a brownfield into a live-work-play mixed-use expansion of downtown Chattanooga, including 3,000 linear feet of beautiful riverfront. The positive impact will be felt across Hamilton County through thousands of new jobs, new-to-Chattanooga corporate relocations, additional affordable housing, and more funding for public benefits like education and infrastructure outside the downtown TIF district.

The Bend is a project of Urban Story Ventures, a Chattanooga-based commercial real estate firm.

Officials said, "Their president and managing partner, Jimmy White, knew a project of this scale would take time and require significant community input."

He said, “Today’s vote was the culmination of years of hard work by hundreds of Chattanoogans who believed in the vision to rebuild the western downtown of Chattanooga with affordable housing, in-demand class A commercial space, improved educational resources, and unique entertainment and outdoor opportunities.

“Downtown Chattanooga’s greatest days are ahead of us. We really appreciate the collaboration and support among Mayor Kelly, Mayor Wamp, Jermaine Freeman, Cory Gearrin, and their hardworking staff, as well as the members of the City Council, County Commission, and City IDB. I am proud that local leaders believe that The Bend will be a major part of our community’s future.”

Urban Story Ventures plans to break ground on infrastructure projects at the north end of The Bend later this spring.

College Hill is home to over 2,000 individuals. Funding from the TIF will be used to meet infrastructure needs that will allow the Chattanooga Housing Authority to begin Phase I of the plan commonly known as Westside Evolves.

CHA executive director Betsy McCright noted that the planning for Westside began during the pandemic with door-to-door surveys of residents asking them to share their vision for the future of the neighborhood. That effort was repeated last fall to continue community engagement and the CHA has regular check-ins with residents in College Hill and at Gateway Towers, she said. 

“The work done during those early days led to a strong foundation for the community’s vision,” said Ms. McCright. “We are excited that in early 2025, the city’s former YFD center will be demolished allowing us to build 230 new housing units. We are focused on a ‘build first’ strategy that will allow residents to remain in the community many have called home for generations. Partnering with Jimmy White and Urban Story Ventures is allowing us to meet the needs within the Westside, and we couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.”

Ms. McCright said the CHA is joined in the Westside Evolves effort by the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Design Studio. Hamilton County also provided $2 million in funding for the project.

Most recently, the CHA completed a competitive application to HUD for consideration as a ‘choice neighborhood.’ “While we won’t know the outcome of our application for several months, we know one thing: our success in planning for the future wouldn’t have happened without the strong support from the City of Chattanooga and the funding provided by this TIF," she said.

Mayor Tim Kelly said, "This plan provides a balanced approach for development with affordability, as well as historic and greenspace preservation on Chattanooga’s Westside. Our role is rooted in appreciation for this neighborhood’s rich history, a deep understanding of its significance to the fabric of Chattanooga and, most importantly, the hopes and dreams of those who call the Westside home. The efforts of Urban Story Ventures and the Chattanooga Housing Authority to build a thriving Westside are a great example of Chattanooga's efforts to create One Chattanooga, and I am very excited to see it come to fruition.”  

County Mayor Weston Wamp said, “The Bend represents an unprecedented partnership between visionary developers and an equally ambitious future for public education in which students will have opportunities to engage in work-based learning with companies just down the road from the new Gateway site. I’m grateful Jimmy White and the team at Urban Story Ventures partnered with taxpayers to align their success with our community’s success, and I look forward to cheering them on."

Under Tax Increment Financing, new taxes generated in the district can be used for such items as infrastructure.

 

Breaking News
School Board Approves Contract For Mental Health Services For Students
  • 7/19/2024

The County School Board on Thursday voted 10-0 to approve a one-year contract to provide mental health services to students. Board member Rhonda Thurman was absent. Patricia Russell, executive ... more

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report
  • 7/19/2024

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report. (If your case is dismissed, just email us your name and date we ran it and we will promptly take off. Email to news@chattanoogan.com ) ARNOLD, ... more

Tennessee Wins In Court Of Appeals In Case Defending Tennessee Children
  • 7/18/2024

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti announced on Thursday that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of the state in Friends of George’s, Inc. v. Mulroy —a case ... more