CHATTANOOGA, TENN. — Urban Story Ventures, a Chattanooga-based commercial real estate developer and owner, is planning the redevelopment of a 112-acre site in Chattanooga’s West End district. Situated along the Tennessee River, the site houses the former Alstom turbine plant, as well as adjacent buildings and land.
Preliminary plans call for Urban Story Ventures to preserve the LEED Gold-certified plant and renovate the remaining buildings and land for mixed-use, including office space, restaurants and residences. The developer is also planning a combination distillery, brewery and winery — a first for Tennessee.
Urban Story Ventures recently established West End Property LLC to oversee the project. The company hopes to recruit a manufacturer to occupy the space left behind in 2016 by Alstom, a French rail transport company that sold its power and grid business lines to GE Power (NYSE: GE) in 2015.
“This is the most significant resurgence of Chattanooga’s riverfront since Mayor Bob Corker implemented the 21st Century Waterfront in 2002,” says Jimmy White, principal of West End Property LLC and owner of Urban Story Ventures. “The development will create hundreds of jobs, connect people to the river and create a whole new district and destination for residents and visitors.”
White, along with Hiren Desai, part owner of West End Property LLC and CEO of 3H Group Inc., purchased the site in June from GE Power for $30 million, according to local media reports.
Two interstate access points terminate at the site — West Main Street and ML King Boulevard. The city’s popular Tennessee Riverwalk also connects to the site, and the planned renovations include river access for activities like kayaks and paddleboards.
Urban Story Ventures attributed its inspiration for the mixed-use portion of the project as Seaside in northwest Florida, Navy Pier in Chicago and Venice, Italy. The group has retained Sim Wilson III of CBRE’s Chattanooga office to oversee the marketing and leasing for the project.
The developer estimates the project will take 10 years to complete. No details about financing were disclosed.
Urban Story Ventures is one of Chattanooga’s largest property owners. The company’s portfolio includes properties located in downtown and midtown including Aerisyn, the Dome Building, Edney Innovation Center, James Building, King Street Station and Midtown Office Park.
— John Nelson