CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (August 23, 2022) – Urban Story Ventures (USV) continues to overcome national market odds with laser focus on Chattanooga’s commercial real estate needs. While the majority of the country’s commercial real estate market suffered from pandemic challenges, Chattanooga emerged as an exception, among cities like Miami, Austin, and Boise. With Chattanooga ranking as a top 10 commercial office market in 2021 and vacancy rates consistently hovering at 4%, demand is high. In response, USV is working to address the community’s current and future real estate needs.
Over the last 18 months, USV has experienced record-high lease transactions. Together, JP Evans and Megan Freeman worked in-house to lease over 270,000 square feet of space for more than 55 commercial tenants in the Chattanooga market. Spaces ranged from 140 square feet to over 28,000. Despite pandemic challenges, JP Evans, director of leasing for USV, leased nearly all of the remaining vacant offices in the 477,000-square-foot Midtown Office Park, leading USV to a 95% office park occupancy rate. This success helped position the sale of the single-level office park buildings to Greenleaf Capital earlier this year. USV has helped recruit major high-profile state and federal tenants to its properties. In fact, the City of Chattanooga has relocated a number of offices to the Midtown Office Park and occupies over 20,000 square feet.
CapStar Bank is one of USV’s newest tenants to choose Chattanooga for its next venture, as the city continues to be a hot spot for company expansions. Based in Nashville, CapStar’s more than 20 locations stretch from Middle Tennessee to Knoxville. CapStar is moving into the James Building downtown.
“Chattanooga’s demographically-diverse and innovative focus is a strategic fit for CapStar’s mission of investing in local markets, developing core banking relationships, and delivering a differentiated service experience,” said Brian Paris, CapStar’s Chattanooga market president. “We believe our investment in top talent, in addition to our forthcoming marque location, will position us to capitalize on the tremendous opportunity in Chattanooga.”
Lipman Brothers is another new tenant on USV’s roster. Founded in 1939, the wine and spirits distributor services 74 of Tennessee’s 95 counties and recently leased over 7,000 square feet of space at the Midtown Office Park.
“This move will increase the time we are able to service Chattanooga,” said Tony Giannasi, southeast regional manager for Lipman. “With recent acquisitions of Ranch Water, North Berkeley Imports, and Athletic Brewing Co, we are primed for the next chapter of growth.”
Lipman holds Tennessee Permit No. 1 for the distribution of beverage alcohol and employs more than 400 persons throughout the state.
USV is looking to develop more space to accommodate the increasing demand.
“Right now, there aren’t enough places to put everyone. We have a lot of interest, and our Chattanooga portfolio is almost at full capacity,” said Evans.
One prime example is 1111 West Main. USV is already recruiting and signing new tenants for the mixed-use building, which will be the first of many 10-plus story buildings at the Bend. The Bend, a 120-acre adaptive reuse development along the Tennessee River, will address needs from commercial to retail to residential. Jimmy White, the company’s president and general partner, says the tenant recruitment approach is two-fold.
“We have great existing community demand, and we’re also working with state and regional partners to welcome company expansions and headquarter relocations for businesses that see the glistening benefits of operating here. With economic incentives, no state income tax, and a city leading the way in outdoor recreation, tech, and transportation and logistics, Chattanooga is one of the most attractive cities to set up shop in America.”
To date, hundreds of millions of dollars have already been invested at the Bend, including millions of USV’s direct investments, and the site is home to more than 800 jobs after housing just three jobs a few years ago.
“By the project’s completion, we anticipate having 7.3 million new square feet of space, supporting over 17,000 jobs, and seeing more than $4 billion invested at the Bend and in our community,” said White.
About Urban Story Ventures
Urban Story Ventures is a Southeast commercial real estate development group based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Led by Jimmy White, the company’s portfolio focuses on mixed-use, office, industrial, and retail sites, reimagined for their highest and best use. Projects from Tennessee to Florida include iconic and historical landmark buildings as well as 100+ acre redevelopments like the Bend. Full-service capabilities include property management, billing, leasing, security, landscaping, and maintenance. For more information, visit urbanstoryventures.com.
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