CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – With the sudden closing of the iconic Mount Vernon restaurant yesterday, some are asking what’s the future of south Broad street in Chattanooga? It’s actually in a state of flux, according to business leaders.
Here’s a recap of Southside events over the past few months:
Despite the closing of properties like the Mount Vernon Restaurant, Long John Silver, and Pizza Hut over the last few months, the gateway to Lookout Mountain seems to be on the verge of a building and development boom.
New construction, like the town homes near the old Wheland Foundry site, constitute a brand new neighborhood.
Collier Construction President, Ethan Collier said, “So the first thing it takes is rooftops. So we get rooftops, we move people in, and then everything else follows. As soon as we have people living here, then there’s more demand for a coffee shop, or you know restaurants, bars and those sorts of things, they all come after the people part.”
Collier thinks the recently completed extension of the River Walk to south Broad is one of the major attractions.
He said, “We’re right outside of downtown, so we’re not in the middle of it all, but right here, if you’re on the Riverwalk you can bike into downtown within 5 or 6 minutes, or you can drive into downtown within two or three minutes. It’s really about the connection to downtown.”
Speaking of the cleaned-up Wheland foundry, it’s now part of Perimeter Properties.
Partner Mike Mallen told us earlier this year what to expect there in the near future.
He said, “Not just our one hundred and forty-one acres, but a district that goes all the way from the Tennessee river to I-24, that included Howard High School, and all the people that use Howard, and all those neighborhoods in between.”
Mallen expects to see homes, small businesses, theaters and office space become a reality there. And, there’s also talk of a new stadium.
He said, “You’re talking about baseball, football, soccer, concerts, public meetings, public events, starting and finishing marathons, 600 events a year, if baseball would occupy 15 percent of that utilization.”
A master plan is in the works for south Chattanooga, drawn up by Eric Myers, director of the Chattanooga Design Studio.
Which means re-branding south Broad is underway—-but, its still a work in progress.
To kick start that progress, TDOT has announced plans to build an off-ramp from I-24 into the area where a future stadium could be built.