CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A plan to redevelop an area of the St. Elmo town center made its first big move in city council Tuesday.
Chattanooga City Council members approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone two blocks from the old SunTrust Bank, the Tap Room Building to the 1885 Restaurant.
The properties are on St. Elmo Avenue.
The proposed redevelopment includes retail shops, office and living spaces, a hotel, and a parking garage.
Folks were allowed to give comments opposing the project.
The applicant, Ben Berry with Berry Engineers, then followed up.
One of the concerns surrounded how the project might impact traffic.
“We’re dealing with a very narrow street on St. Elmo Avenue. Traffic is very heavy now. Especially during the tourist season. It’s pretty much a nightmare sometimes during the day and rush hour traffic is incredibly heavy,” Tim McDonald said.
“We are eliminating four existing driveways that are on the Tennessee Avenue currently. Tennessee Avenue experiences a great majority of the traffic that most people are referring to as far as congestion. And this development is turning that entire corridor into a pedestrian oriented environment eliminating that vehicular access,” Berry said.
Berry said that St. Elmo Avenue is going to be used as primary access for the parking garage.
The ordinance rezones the area for the project from Convenience Commercial to Urban General Commercial with conditions.
City council members vote on a final reading of the ordinance next week.