$14.5 Million Contract Approved For Phase 1 Of James A. Henry Renovation On Westside

  • Tuesday, May 28, 2024
  • Hannah Campbell

The Chattanooga Housing Authority Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve a construction contract worth $14.5 million for Phase 1 of the renovation of the James A. Henry Campus Hub.

“Approved. Let’s go,” said board Chairperson Jim Levine. “This is the first kickoff of the whole Westside project,” he said.

Fully-funded Phase 1 will double the neighborhood’s Head Start seats and build out space for health services, seven or eight multi-purpose community rooms and CHA offices. Cincinnati-based Tricon Inc. won the project. CHA staff may allocate up to $2.1 million more if needed.

The One Westside project is an in-depth attempt to revitalize the Westside neighborhood between Riverfront Parkway and the Chattanooga Convention Center. CHA will replace two public housing units: College Hill Courts and Gateway Towers, and build 250 mixed-income units. Various groups have surveyed the area’s 2,000 residents to find out what they want and need, and the area is part of a tax-increment financing district approved in October, which also includes The Bend development.

CHA Director of Development Naveed Minhas told the board that One Westside is getting closer and closer to its funding goals after a windfall last month when approvals started rolling in.

“One month. When it rains, it pours,” he said.

The Henry building will be renovated and expanded in four phases. Eventually it will house a food pantry and kitchens and a gym, which can be opened onto Sheila Jennings Park for flexible use.

“I thought this day was so far away, but it’s here today,” said CHA project manager Cihan Johnson. “It’s very exciting for us,” she said.

“It’s important for us to keep the history of the community and be respectful of the community,” Ms. Johnson said.

Phase 1 construction will be complete in summer 2025, in time for Head Start to move in and open before the school year begins, Ms. Johnson said.

CHA opened the bid May 8. Tricon Inc. was the only qualified bidder. Ms. Johnson said Tricon has completed similar projects in the Chattanooga area.

Columbia Residential Development is set to break ground on the new public housing units in January 2025. CHA project manager Hana Ramirez told the board that funding has been committed for that whole project, and the $35 million bond is still set to close in December. The project was recently given Low-Income Housing Tax Credit status by the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency.

A resolution passed by City Council names CHA a beneficiary of The Bend TIF to the tune of $103 million, Ms. Ramirez said.

Ms. Ramirez said the project is one of nine finalists for a Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant for as much as $50 million.

“We had a great interview,” she said. “We feel very good about it.” She said CHA was well-represented by the city and state. Awards will be announced in July, she said.

Officials said, "For the James A. Henry project, last month, we informed the CHA board that there is still a funding gap. However, between last month and now, the remaining funding for James A. Henry Phase I, totaling $16.7M (Including contingency), has been committed, and the CHA board approved the award of the contract today.

"For the YFD Site, the One Westside Phase I housing development (230 new homes), the funding commitments totaling $79 million include City funds, State (tax credit allocations from Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) in Nashville), business and philanthropic sources.”

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