Connecting UTC With Downtown: It’s Coming !

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) – Chattanooga’s revitalized downtown is the envy of other cities.
It has the world’s fastest internet service, popular tourist spots like the Aquarium and the I-Max, and even a college just a few blocks away.
But students at that college, for the most part, are not linked to downtown.
There’s a movement to change that in the next few years.

There are almost 12-thousand students at UTC and the college is growing so fast it has to provide housing at downtown hotels.
That’s the urgency of moving quickly on a new dorm.
State officials have given UTC the go-ahead to begin planning a 59- million dollar student residence hall on a site near Vine, Douglas and East Fifth streets.

CHUCK CANTRELL, VICE CHANCELLOR, UTC "We’re moving forward with the project to build our campus housing..and we located it there on Vince Street because we wanted to be part of that animation..we want to be part of the revitalization of that community."

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The 600 bed dorm will ease the current bed shortage and UTC hopes it will be completed by 2017.

But, Chattanooga downtown planners are looking to get something else out of that new construction—a firm tie-in between the entertainment district and the students daily life.

KIM WHITE, PRESIDENT, THE RIVER CITY COMPANY "We’ve been trying for years to connect the campus UTC’s campus to downtown. We also have a need for housing…so we think this Vine street extension is going to just really do both. It gives a great walking corroder."

And that idea is just fine with the university.

DR. STEVE ANGLE, CHANCELLOR, UTC "We want out students to be able to take advantage of downtown Chattanooga…as a place to go."

River City envisions a modern mix of business, entertainment, parking and more private housing.

KIM WHITE "I think Georgia and Vine really could be a great hub….and we’ve been working on some plans for the Fireman’s Fountain..how that can be enlarged..how we can make a safer crossing across Georgia avenue."

That would be a minor problem as the two entities, education and business, look to change the face of downtown even more.
Unum and River City Company are asking for proposals from developers for that area.
Unum is offering two parking lots that the company no longer uses.