A big increase in living options in downtown Chattanooga since 2013
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
We have seen a transformation downtown over the last thirty years from the Tennessee Aquarium, to the River walk, to the Innovation District that is now bringing in jobs and many things in between.
Since 2013, there has been a big increase in the number of residential spaces throughout downtown Chattanooga.
"It really is phenomenal," Kim White, President and CEO of the River City Company. "We've been behind the curve so long with the need for housing."
The River City company has commissioned studies in recent years that show a need for more downtown housing.
In 2014, RCLCo conducted a Downtown Chattanooga Market Study that showed among other things 2,300 apartment units could be filled immediately with that number growing by at least a couple hundred annually for the foreseeable future and the student Housing need was even higher than that number.
"We spent thirty years building a great downtown, and people now what to be a part of it and it had taken a while to see that."
Over the last four years 3,170 apartment units are in some phase of being built. Some completed, some under construction, and other buildings in the pre-development phase.
That is brand new buildings and older structures, such as the first Tennessee building and Maclellan building, that are adding new housing.
There are close to 1,800 condos, town homes, and student beds also being added to the downtown area.
"We're attracting a lot of people from out of town that have chosen Chattanooga because of the downtown and quality of life," White said. "Until now there hasn't been places for them to live. We have people who live in the suburbs now that have chosen to come back, and we're keeping more of our college students here too."
River City worked with the city and county on incentives for developers. 250 of the units will be priced in the 800 dollar per month range. The more expensive units will cost 1,500 dollars or more depending on the size.
Kim White says that right now only about 3% of the downtown workforce lives downtown. She says the goal is to get to 10 %. That would put Chattanooga more in line with other southern cites such as Asheville, NC and Charleston, SC.
"I think it really validates the work that has been done for the past thirty years to say you build a great city and you're gonna attract all kinds of people who want to be a part of it," White said.