Old East Brainerd Elementary School could become shopping center - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Old East Brainerd Elementary School could become shopping center

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EAST BRAINERD, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The old East Brainerd Elementary School is one step closer to becoming a new shopping center.

Chattanooga city council members approved the first reading of the proposal on Tuesday.

A final reading is set for next Tuesday.

Count on Channel 3 to let you know what happens.


The old East Brainerd Elementary School could soon become a new shopping center.

Chattanooga city council members will consider a rezoning proposal that would make the project possible. Tuesday was the first reading for it. 

"There's so many memories at that place," Mike Valovcin, a neighbor said.

The old East Brainerd Elementary School brings Mike Valovcin back to a time when his three kids went there.

"I actually remember being part of building the playground," Valovcin said.

Now a developer is looking to create some new memories for that space by building a shopping center.

"Restaurants, you know, those kinds of things would be people that we would like to bring in and there's some other larger tenants that aren't out there that we'd like to persuade to come in," Clint Wolford of Wolford Development said.

Clint Wolford with Wolford Development said the 9 acre piece of property could include a grocery store too.

The redevelopment plans would potentially bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales and property taxes. It would also create several full and part time jobs.

"This is probably the last sizable piece of property that is out there in that Hamilton Place area to develop," Wolford said.

The school closed more than a year ago when a new one was built.

Councilman Larry Grohn who represents East Brainerd said the developer bought the school for more than $4 million. He said the money will go back to the school system. 

Grohn calls the proposal a step in the right direction.

"This is just a continuing sign that one of the fastest growing regions of the county and of the city is continuing that move forward," Grohn said.

With more businesses possibly coming into the area, that means more traffic too.

"We already have tons of stuff here. For example, they just built a new Walmart," Valovcin said.

That's why the developer wants a traffic light at the intersection of Joiner Road and East Brainerd Road.

For Valovcin, he'd rather the school become a community center to preserve the building that used to be filled with students and teachers.

"To even think about coming close to tearing that thing down would just be a waste," Valovcin said.

A final reading is set for next week. That would need enough votes from city council members before the project would get the green light.

The developer said if that happens, construction could start as early as next spring.

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