Missing Middle Housing in Chattanooga

Working with the Lyndhurst Foundation and Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE), we are paving the way for great infill development in Chattanooga. The goal is to make it easier to build multi-unit properties that improve their neighborhoods and allow the city to adapt to changing housing needs while honoring the best of Chattanooga’s built heritage.

 
 

Beautiful multi-unit properties like 1400 Duncan here are part of Chattanooga's built heritage. Our work is helping to make Missing Middle Housing such as this both legal and straight-forward for local small developers.

Goal: Make the Missing Middle Possible Again

CNE owns several properties in the Highland Park and Ridgedale neighborhoods, upon which they want to make it easier to build the best possible housing. The Lyndhurst Foundation has supported this goal by assembling an IncDev design team to essentially pre-package developments, from finance to floor plan, that would strengthen and beautify neighborhoods, be profitable for a builder, and meet housing demand.

 
 
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Method: Learn from local, share from experience

Our design team, including Bruce B. Tolar, Architect from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Kronberg Wall Architects from Atlanta and Brown Design Studio from Savannah, set to work with local implementers to create workable plans, construction estimates and development finance models. The team surveyed Chattanooga to find precedents of much-loved Missing Middle type buildings which would fit nicely in the target neighborhoods. They met with locals in the building trades, visiting job sites and getting continuous feedback, to set a realistic baseline for construction costs, timelines, and processes. The team then held meetings with various administrative departments to clarify purpose and identify red flags in the existing sphere of regulation that may inadvertently preclude development projects.

Outcome: Eager small developers and a city determined to support them

This project culminated in document which explained the value of Missing Middle housing and provided sample bank packages for folks interested in putting the proposed designs into action. The team then hosted a Small-Scale Development Training Workshop in October 2016, in which locals engaged in the first steps to make the Missing Middle their business. Local developers expressed strong interest in the Missing Middle housing plans proposed in the project document. The IncDev team also diagnosed some major touchpoints within municipal regulation that could make or break small development projects. As a result, city administrators are collaborating to find ways to fast-track the proposed Missing Middle housing and minimize some of the risks and expenses which disproportionately stymie small multi-unit developments.