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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, February 2, 2018

BlueCross sells riverfront site to Riverton




Riverton Development Group is planning a mixed-use town center of shops, restaurants and small businesses, which might also include a neighborhood grocery, coffee shop, spa, bakery and salon. - Photograph provided | Aerial Innovations of Tenn

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has sold 210 acres on the Tennessee River for $8.1 million to Riverton LLC.

Riverton Development Group, a local residential and commercial development group, will plan and develop the property. The site is located five miles from downtown Chattanooga and for many decades has been referred to as the Lupton City property.

BlueCross, which bought the land in 2001, had originally considered relocating its corporate headquarters to the site before the decision to move to Cameron Hill.

“This project has been underway since 2016, and we couldn’t be more excited to be moving forward with our first steps to gain input from our neighbors,” says Becky Cope English, a partner with Riverton Development Group.

“From the beginning, our team has been committed to upholding the historical and environmental integrity of the property, and while we have many ideas on the drawing board, we’re eager to have open discussions with residents, builders and local officials.”

While Riverton is still in a conceptual planning phase, the developers are committed to a master plan based on design principles known as New Urbanism. The concept is aimed at creating livable and walkable neighborhoods with an array of housing, a town center and numerous recreational amenities.

New Urbanism is a style of development that focuses on how people want to live. “If you were to study successful, sustainable communities and cities around the country, you would find common characteristics like pedestrian-oriented streetscapes, diverse housing options and a mix of uses all within a comfortable walking distance,” Cope English says.

Cope English adds that Riverton will be a multi-generational community offering a variety of options including estate homes, townhomes, condominiums, single-family and senior living. The town center will include mixed-uses and a central park for recreation and events.

A pre-approved list of homebuilders will be vetted prior to the construction phase. While the master plan is not complete, it is estimated that there will be several hundred home sites, many of which will have river views due to the natural topography.

“We plan to design the community to offer multiple residential alternatives to reach a wide and diverse demographic,” Cope English adds. “Although Riverton will be new and innovative, our plan is to integrate the great personalities that older, established neighborhoods have.”

Cope English says the vision for Riverton includes a mixed-use town center of shops, restaurants and small businesses. This might include a neighborhood grocery, coffee shop, spa, bakery and salon as well as professional offices. Recreational amenities might include a clubhouse, pool, gathering pavilion and dock with a paddleboard and kayak launch as well as parks to host community events.

“We want to create a live, work and play environment to meet a variety of needs,” Cope English says.

“While just minutes from downtown, we still want to include all the elements of a self-sustained, small town, so after a busy day or during a weekend, you’ll have all you need if you want to stay home and relax.”

In addition to the 3,300 linear feet on the Tennessee River, the property includes dense wooded areas of water oaks, red oaks, sycamores and ash trees, natural streams and wetlands.

“Minimizing the impact of development on the land has been a priority since day one. Our investors support our goal to keep approximately one-third of the property as it is – undeveloped. Hiking trails, nature trails, parks and wetlands will be a priority within the master plan framework,” Cope English notes. “As part of our commitment to preserving the landmark trees, we contracted one of the best arborists in the region to identify, assess and geographically locate trees that we will integrate into the master plan.”

Riverton officials plan to begin putting the infrastructure in place soon after a final plan is rendered and approved. It is estimated that the entire build-out will be completed within five to seven years.

Studies indicate that the development will have a direct and indirect economic impact of more than $225 million, including lot and home sales, property taxes and the creation of jobs.

Benjamin Pitts of Herman Waldorf and Company represented Riverton as purchaser and David Devaney of Charter Real Estate represented BlueCross.

Source: Riverton Development Group