A Chattanooga residential and commercial developer has purchased BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's riverfront site.

Riverton, LLC purchased the 210 acres on the Tennessee River for $8.1 million.

They plan to develop a residential and commercial community and on the land that for decades has been known as the Lupton City property.

"The name Riverton is simply a combination of “river” and “Lupton,” which seemed fitting considering the history of the area and the impressive 3,300 linear feet of riverbank,” Becky Cope English, a partner with the Riverton Development Group, said. “The first time we walked the property we were speechless. The views of the river with Lookout Mountain in the backdrop, the natural beauty of the land – we instantly knew the property was special and it deserved to be thoughtfully and carefully planned.”   

The project has already been in the works for around two years.

“This project has been underway since 2016 and we couldn’t be more excited to finally move forward with our first steps to gain input from our neighbors,” said Cope English. “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 are eager have open discussions with residents, builders and local officials.” 

Riverton plans to use the principles of "New Urbanism" in their design.

A spokesperson for Riverton said, "the concept is aimed at creating livable and walkable neighborhoods with an array of housing, a town center and numerous recreational amenities."

The style of development has been used in cities like Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.

The Riverton community will include a variety of housing types geared toward multiple-generations. It will include estate homes, townhomes, condominiums, single-family and senior living. 

“We plan to design the community to offer multiple residential alternatives to reach a wide and diverse demographic,” Cope English said. “Although Riverton will be new and innovative, our plan is to integrate all the great personalities that older, established neighborhoods have, which includes fun, active and vibrant living. A lot of our inspiration came from the immediate area.” 

They also plan to include a mixed-use town center where there will be shops, small businesses and restaurants. 

“We want to create a live, work and play environment to meet a wide variety of needs,”Cope English said. “While just minutes from a thriving 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 will have all you need if you want to stay home and relax.”

In terms of a "play environment," amenities around the development might include a clubhouse and pool, gathering pavilion, fire pits and grilling stations, a dock with a paddleboard and kayak launch as well as parks to host community events.

There is also a variety of nature around the property that the developer plans to conserve.

“From day one, minimizing the impact of development on the land was a high priority and our investors, also strongly aligned with conservation, environmental stewardship and nature, supported our goal to keep approximately one-third of the property as it is, undeveloped. Hiking trails, nature trails, parks and wetlands will be priority within the master plan framework,” said Cope English. “We were so committed to preserving the landmark trees that 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. We are still working with our consultants and thinking through the environmental aspects of the development, but we think the opportunities are huge. We are even discussing what kind of educational resources we could make available so everyone from children to adults can learn and be involved with the sustainable stewardship of the land. This may be the single most important focus of everyone that is a part of this venture. It certainly is for our development group and the other investors.”

A Riverton spokesperson also said that they believe the project will take five to seven years to complete once the final plan is rendered and approved. They also expect the project to have a direct and indirect economic impact of more than $225 million. 

"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 job creation," a spokesperson said.

BlueCross BlueShield originally purchased the property with plans to relocate their corporate headquarters to the site, but instead moved to Cameron Hill.