Red Wolves Build East Ridge

There are developments that fit into a specific area, think Market City Center in downtown Chattanooga (https://marketcitycenter.com/) and then there are developments that literally remake cities. The Red Wolves soccer stadium and development in East Ridge is just such a project. This immense effort to bring professional soccer to the city is transforming the quiet strip of East Ridge from a suburban city in Chattanooga’s shadow to a destination all its own.

With the goal of building what amounts to an entire downtown core centered around a brand new, state of the art, soccer stadium this $125m project is an immense undertaking and unchallenged as being the largest development ever to happen in East Ridge. You could call it audacious but this is not the first time the developer, Bob Martino, has done this. His first version of this idea is already rocking in Salt Lake City. A great omen for the success of this project.

East Ridge is also digging in and leveraging this project combined with the fast unfolding Camp Jordan, just across Hwy 75, to market the city as the premier location for sporting and active people.

Taking a closer look at the Red Wolves project there are a number of points worthy of note. First, just from a site selection position the placement of the entire development looks to be absolutely ideal. At the intersection of Hwys 24 and 75 with interchanges to both very proximate which will provide unparalleled access.

Second, looking closer at the initial site plan provided by ASA Engineering, the overall layout and orientation of the site appears to integrate well with the existing neighborhoods. This is always a concern as lack of integration can cause areas around major attractions to actually go down in value following development. The integration as well as the addition of a pseudo downtown to the development should prove a boon to the adjacent residential areas.

Site Plan from ASA Engineering

Lastly, as just noted, the integration of a downtown like area including apartments should prove the lynch pin that is missing in many stadium projects. Developing just a stadium, without any supporting urban fabric, is a guarantee of a dead spot in a city. Stadiums themselves are much like churches and graveyards, they’re used one day a week for maybe a couple hours and the rest of the time lie dormant. Creating the area around a stadium to be a full time lifestyle project means the stadium activities will be a bonus on top of the pedestrian centric area.

Rendering of Main Street view of new stadium, mixed-use development. (Image: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC)

Naturally there are many steps to go through in the next three to five years as the project is built out and missteps are to be expected. However, looking at the project from here I’d say it’s going to be a pretty solid win for the developer, the team and the city. We could use more projects like this.

Red Wolves Soccer: https://www.chattanoogaredwolves-sc.com/

As a bonus the amenities in the stadium are pretty cool. Check them out here: https://www.chattanoogaredwolves-sc.com/news_article/show/1063196

Initial news on the project, with pics: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/chattanooga-red-wolves-investing-125-million-in-east-ridge-stadium-mixed-use-development

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