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Better living and business for Chattanooga's MLK District

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Community leaders broke ground Thursday on a long awaited project in Chattanooga's MLK District that proponents say will help UTC and the surrounding area become a better place to live and do business.
" I think Chattanooga presents a unique opportunity in the need for the housing U-T-C has and just the growth that Chattanooga has in general, I think this is a great opportunity to invest."
Which is why Riverside Development President Chris Curtis is embarking on one of the more ambitious construction projects Chattanooga's MLK district.
A seven story student apartment project titled Douglas Heights, and while the building will cater to UTC, the hope is it will spur greater development around the campus.
" We would like to see more restaurants and shops open up because that's amenities are students would like to take part in," says UTC spokesman Chuck Cantrell.
Curtis, himself a Chattanooga native, says he's been looking at this project for 3 years, and says now that UTC has hit the enrollment threshold of 10 thousand students, he's ready to pull the trigger on his business plan.    
" This is just one piece of that puzzle and we think that through continued work by River City, Benwood Foundation and many others that are working in this community will help lift the entire M-L-K district
Douglas Heights developers won't reveal publicly exactly how much they're spending to make this project happen but they do say they fully expect to recoup their investment and then some.
" There would definitely be a domino effect , we'd probably have drug stores and other major retailers coming in, I think its a great thing," says Vic Williams owns Memo's Chopped Weiners on MLK Avenue.
He says after watching the investments in Chattanooga's NorthShore and Southside redevelopment projects pay dividends, its due time for the MLK district to cash in as well.
From Thursday afternoon's ground breaking, Curtis hopes to have Douglas Heights up and running by August 2016.

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