Redo the Riverwalk, landing stages, hotel seen on the waterfront from The Bend in Chattanooga


November 25 — With battery material maker Novonix anchoring part of The Bend, owners of the huge land are now focused on the waterfront, where they are looking to move the Riverwalk closer to the river.

In addition, a plan is being devised to install 240 piers in a marina, and talks are underway for a hotel at the end of Main Street, which itself will be rebuilt and extended to the riverside, has said Jimmy White of landowner Urban Story Ventures.

“We take [manufacturing] property, cleaning it up and bringing the river to the city, ”he said. “Riverside programming is mission critical. “

The Chattanooga real estate developer said plans for the 120-acre plot in the downtown west end have a lot of momentum through 2022.

“There are a lot of projects in the pipeline,” he said.

Earlier this week, Novonix launched a $ 160 million project to modernize a former Alstom Power turbine manufacturing plant where Novonix plans to start producing synthetic graphite next year. This material is used in the construction of batteries for electric vehicles and storage on the power grid.

White said he and Bend co-owner Hiran Desai, a hotel developer from Chattanooga, were looking to the 3,000 linear feet of property along the Tennessee River, much of which was acquired earlier this year. from the ADM processor.

When the Riverwalk was built years ago through Alstom’s former property, ADM didn’t want the road to cross its land, which faced the river, White said.

Therefore, the Riverwalk was built on Alstom’s industrial property a bit inland, rather than along the river, as the trail runs alongside the nearby Cameron Harbor site.

White said he wanted the Riverwalk to be like “a boardwalk” with restaurants, boat ramps, green spaces, and shops for locals and tourists alike who can come up and down the river to visit Chattanooga. .

“This will allow a whole new sector of tourism,” he said. “They will come from the north and the south.

White said he would work with the City and County of Hamilton and find funding for the reinvented Riverwalk through The Bend.

At the end of Main Street, he plans a resort style hotel. The plans must be sensitive to the height of such a building, White said.

He noted that The Bend waterfront property is across the river from the Moccasin Bend archaeological district.

“It’s a missing piece,” White said, adding that the riverside The Bend would complete what the Tennessee Aquarium began when it was built nearly three decades ago.

David DeVaney, who heads Chattanooga’s commercial real estate company NAI Charter, said The Bend is “a unique property” that offers many growth opportunities for the city over the next decade.

“It’s an incredibly large expanse of land,” he said.

White’s group bought the plot from GE Power for $ 30 million in 2018. GE Power had acquired ownership of Alstom and then announced its intention to stop manufacturing.

In 2019, after a long planning effort, the company revealed opportunities for the sector including housing, hotels, manufacturing, offices, canal, food hall, concert hall, daycare and Moreover.

“We are creating a beautiful campus to live, work and play,” White said.

Today, along with Novonix and other companies drawn to The Bend, around 750 jobs have been created at the site, officials say.

Next month, White said he plans to seek approval from Chattanooga City Council for rezoning related to the future development of The Bend.

Earlier this month, a city panel approved a plan for a 10-story office tower that will be the tallest building of its kind constructed in the city for about 40 years. This 200,000 square foot structure is planned for the main street.

Also this fall, The Bend hosted around 33,000 people for races related to the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, which White has said he wants to see happen each year.

Chris Burns, CEO of Novonix, said his company, which plans to hire 300 people, has started removing old turbine engine equipment and installing what it will need to meet production.

He said that the Chattanooga site “is working very well for us” and that “making Chattanooga the home of our next phase is the best choice for us”.

Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.


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