Atlanta developer has plans for old Chevrolet site

Atlanta developer has plans for old Chevrolet site

Chance Partners seeking fourth development here in 14 months

Tuscaloosa News – Last Modified: Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 10:48 p.m

TUSCALOOSA | Two months ago, following approval of its third Tuscaloosa mixed-use development in 12 months, Chance Partners of Atlanta said it had a long-term vision for the downtown area.

Now, the company is seeking approval for its fourth — and most ambitious — project to date.

On Monday, Chance Partners will go before the Tuscaloosa Planning and Zoning Commission for approval of a $42-million residential and retail project on a 7.6-acre riverfront site.

The company has an option to purchase the former Tuscaloosa Chevrolet site, located on the north side of Jack Warner Parkway between the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and Bank of Tuscaloosa development, and will go forward if the project is approved by the planning commission and ultimately the City Council.

Chance Partners envisions a 201-unit, 452-bed development with an on-site, 450-space parking deck and almost 40,000 square feet of retail space.

An additional 134 parking spaces are set among the five-building site plan. One of the buildings would be four stories with the others three stories or less.

Christopher Kritzman, partner and developer for Chance Partners, said the design includes elements of the city’s Downtown and Riverfront redevelopment plans, as well as aspects of the Tuscaloosa Forward Strategic Rebuilding Plan.

“We went back and came up with something that built on all those points,” Kritzman said.

Chance Partners said it was aware of the risk it was taking in proposing a large-scale development there. In February 2012, the City Council rejected in a 4-2 vote a proposal by Carter development company to put 854 bedrooms in 270 apartment units and 7,500 square feet of retail space on the site. In the hopes of getting a more favorable answer, Chance

Partners has reduced the number of residential units and increased the amount of retail space.

“We saw a lot of missteps that (Carter) made,” said Judd Bobolin, president and CEO of Chance Partners.

It also has tucked away from public view such amenities as the swimming pool and common residence areas to preserve the overall family-friendly image that city leaders have said they want for the area.

Additionally, the plan has connections to the Riverwalk recreational trail and three entrances — two from Jack Warner Parkway and one from Greensboro Avenue — for non-residents who are looking to shop or eat in the development.

“This is private land, but it’s viewed as public land, so there has to be entry points,” Kritzman said.

If approved, the project, dubbed Riverfront Village, will bring Chance Partners’ total investment in the Tuscaloosa market to more than $62 million.

In January, the City Council gave its blessing for an $11.5 million, four-story development called Green Bear, consisting of townhouse-style apartments, single-story apartments and retail space on a 1.4-acre site at the intersection of Greensboro Avenue and Paul W. Bryant Drive.

In March 2012, the city approved the $8.25-million Boulevard Lofts, an 18-unit, 46-bed development that has been completed and already fully leased on the former parking lot across University Boulevard from City Hall.

The company’s first Tuscaloosa project was the $5 million Townhomes at Metal Works, a five-unit, 15-bedroom complex announced in January 2011. It is at 100 percent lease capacity for this year and next, the company said. Bobolin said Chance Partners’ commitment to the Tuscaloosa area is rooted in several aspects. One is the company’s belief that the resurgence of Tuscaloosa’s downtown is missing only a healthy, high-quality offering of retail units.

Also, it’s part of the company’s philosophy.

“When we go into a market, we take the time to get to know the community and the city staff,” Bobolin said. “So it’s stupid to spend all that human capital and then get up and leave. It’s easier for us to continue to build in a market we believe in.

“We’re not flippers. We want to hold our properties. And we want to be considered a part of the community even though we’re out of town.”

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