published Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Planners support revised blueprint for mall-area Palms project

The Palms condominium project stalled five years ago with few of the planned 89 units complete.
The Palms condominium project stalled five years ago with few of the planned 89 units complete.
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The Palms on Concord, a Hamilton Place-area development that weathered one foreclosure, is now being pitched as 155 apartments rather than 89 condominiums.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend that the City Council override its land-use plan and rezone the property for higher density development.

The City Council in 2005 approved the previously planned condo community at 7.8 dwelling units per acre. The new plan's density would be 13.6 units per acre. Planning agency staff recommended that the commission deny the project's changes.

In spite of that recommendation, commissioners supported the rezoning almost unanimously -- save the vote of City Councilman Jack Benson, who said he couldn't vote to change the area's land-use plan out of principle.

"This is the ideal place for what you propose," Benson said. "This right on the interstate and this is on the very end of our land-use plan. I could talk all day for this, but I can't vote for it."

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    The Palms on Concord

One of the project's proponents, Mike Price, of MAP Engineering, described the property as one formerly "in distress."

At least one commissioner said she could support a plan with fewer units.

"You might be able to support it, but you won't be able to make any money on it," Price said.

In February 2009, Northwest Georgia Bank foreclosed on the previous owner, Michael A. Dowlen, and two companies he operated: Dowlen Construction LLC and Green Oaks LLC.

Many of the units sat unfinished until Emerson Russell, a local developer, bought the property in 2010. County records show that The Palms on Concord LLC paid $2.3 million in June 2010 for 1515 N. Concord Road.

Russell said he bought the units and attempted to market them as condos, to no avail.

Price said the new apartment development would include several buildings, each with nine units, including six garages.

"This is not your typical apartment development," he said. "It's in keeping with the townhouse-type look that was previously considered."

The planning commission voted against a plan to increase density in another East Brainerd neighborhood. Developer Don Walker sought to build six townhomes on less than an acre on Fuller Road.

"There's a big demand for townhomes of this nature in the county for singles," Walker said.

Planning staff estimated the density would be about 9.8 units per acre. Before casting his vote against the project, Commissioner Don Moon asked Walker to bring back another plan with less density.

Walker said he would bring the agency a new proposal in October with fewer units.

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about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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doylemiller48 said...

Interest rates are simply incredible on mortgages right now. It's not uncommon to see 30 year rates down in low fours and 15 year rates in the threes. Week after week, the rates keep dropping If you are looking for rates in three then search online for "123 Refinance" and learn how to do refi.

September 13, 2011 at 4:50 a.m.
CharlesMartel said...

These people continue to shoot themselves in the head by requesting lower household density.

September 13, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
joetheplumber said...

Oh Hell no, not until we have the streets and crime under control in that area. The last thing needed is apartments. A local hideout for a quick get-away. Please stop and think (and I realize that thinking is not one of the strong points) about what the developers are asking for.

Mike Price has never done anything that didn't benefit him the most. Don Walker is a slum lord and the thought two of these two guys together puts a lump in the seat of my pants.

September 14, 2011 at 8:49 a.m.
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