Building and Redevelopment Priorities
Improve the qualities and increase the density of the district’s primary physical assets, rethink the traditional office building, provide for a broad spectrum of workers and business types, plan for redevelopment of vacant and underutilized lots and buildings, provide a range of housing options, and plan proactively for parking needs.
Krystal and Tallan Buildings
Built between 1979 and 1982, these two optimally located office buildings owned by the Stone Fort Land Company contain a combined 283,000 square feet and have an attached 640 space parking garage as well as surface parking. Yet they remain less than half occupied, having not stayed competitive in the local office market trending toward more knowledge based economy tenants. Plans are formulating to rethink these buildings for newer office preferences, programming them to engage more effectively in the local innovation economy. Longer term, building expansions or extensions are possible.
City of Chattanooga Properties
For years the city added offices near City Hall in an ad-hoc fashion, as city administrative needs changed. Thinking more strategically, the current planning process identified four underutilized buildings, no longer optimal for city offices, that could offer important opportunities for the district if redeveloped for a mix of uses and more active ground level commercial spaces. City Hall Annex is across the street from City Hall and a two-story building is across from City Council Chambers. A one-story building on Tenth Street may be an optimal site for low-income housing and a historic two-story building is in the 400 block of ML King Blvd. There will be a focus on attracting minority developers and owners for these buildings.
AT&T Building - 919 Lindsay Street
The six story AT&T office building on Lindsey Street is in good condition and has been largely vacant for years as the changing telecommunications industry left similar buildings vacant all over the US. Initial conversations with the building’s owner indicate the potential for returning the building to full occupancy in a condo arrangement that could include office space and active uses at the ground level. This building’s location near government offices, The Edney Innovation Center, public parks, restaurants and a boutique hotel places it in a prime spot in the Innovation District and along the ML King Cultural Corridor.
Mapp Building Block
Rededicated for use by UTC in 2016, the James A Mapp Building occupies an important position connecting the Innovation District with the UTC Campus. Named for a long time Chattanooga civil rights leader, the 83,000 square foot building will be programmed to integrate innovation, entrepreneurship and smart city research functions of UTC within a thriving multi-sector Innovation District. The building is located closest to 8th street on a steeply sloping site and is surrounded by surface parking lots with some frontage on ML King Boulevard. This plan calls for an eventual complete redevelopment of the block with more density and a mix of uses, linking UTC to the district and taking full advantage of the site’s location on the ML King Cultural Corridor.
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
Founded in 1983, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center is the cultural heart of the district, as an anchor institution and a symbol of the city’s most historic African American neighborhood. BSCC is operated by a local non-profit board, and the building and the entire block around it are owned by city and county government. BSCC board members are creating a rejuvenated long-term vision for the organization and taking advantage of the opportunity provided by plans for the Innovation District. This vision could include new educational, exhibit and performance spaces within a larger mixed-use development scenario for the block. This could provide a mix of complimentary uses and upgraded open space as well as ensure the financial sustainability of the BSCC for decades to come.
Large Under-utilized Parcels
Large surface parking lots in the 1000 block of Market Street, the 200 block of MLK Blvd and at 8th Street and Houston are prime opportunities for future district development. The first two, which occupy highly visible locations, are in local private ownership, and the third on a less central corner site, is owned by UTC. A mix of uses for each site is envisioned and each will most likely move toward redevelopment as adjacent sites reach their own potential, as public space improvements are made and as district parking options come into play. The Market Street site (Civic Forum) has the potential to develop into unique innovation serving uses, such as a multimodal transportation research hub, a data informatics center and multi-tenant research and urban lab space.