Why Greater Chattanooga is the Perfect Place to Be
Greater Chattanooga’s lifestyle appeals to young professionals.
A lower cost of living, abundant career opportunities, ease of getting around, a lively and diverse arts tradition and abundant recreation opportunities create an inviting atmosphere to draw talent.
This doesn’t surprise Susan Gregg Gilmore, a real estate agent, Southern fiction novelist and proud resident of Chattanooga’s revitalized Southside neighborhood.
“Chattanooga draws you in like a moth to a flame,” she says. “The mountains, river, community, energy and affordability – all make it the perfect place to live, whether you are a young professional or raising a family.”
Checking All the Boxes
The 16-county region that encompasses southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama checks all the top quality-of-life boxes. Outdoor opportunities are abundant and accessible. The Tennessee River meanders through the heart of the region, and the surrounding Appalachian Mountains offer opportunities to fish, paddle, hike, climb or hang glide.
Readers of Outdoor Magazine twice voted Chattanooga “Best Town Ever.”
Chattanooga is a bike-friendly place with numerous designated bike paths. If you don’t have your own two wheels, the Chattanooga Bike Transit system for riders 16 and older provides public access to 300 bicycles and 33 docking stations.
Infused With Art
Travel publisher Frommer’s tagged the Chattanooga Market as one of the best public markets in the U.S., where you can find everything from sculptures made from recycled materials to organic vegetables. The Hunter Museum of American Art anchors the Bluff View Art District of charming galleries and coffee shops. The free, 33-acre, open-air Sculpture Fields at Montague Park is home to 40 colossal pieces called impressive public art by The New York Times.
Livability.com named Chattanooga one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in 2019, in part because of its affordability, especially in housing costs. The median home value is $200,000 – and its overall living costs are 8% below the national average.
The region’s energy and promise has caught the eye of developers like John “Thunder” Thornton of Thunder Enterprises, the force behind Jasper Highlands, a premier residential gated mountain community in Marion County, Tennessee. The development features a community village with numerous parks and recreation areas, workout facilities and a new restaurant and brewery.
Thornton recently turned his attention to Riverton, a planned mixed-use community on 200 acres of a former mill site in Lupton City, a neighborhood in Chattanooga near the Tennessee River. Thornton envisions 400 homes around a village of neighborhood restaurants, stores and medical offices, a project that could generate $300 million in investment over a five-year period.
Another mixed-use property slated for 112 acres on the Tennessee River will transform the former Alstom manufacturing site. Bought by Urban Story Ventures, the West End location will be built in phases during the next 20 to 25 years, bringing a projected $2 billion to $3 billion in investments to the site and more than 5,000 jobs.
In Cleveland, TN, a long-term Downtown Redevelopment Master Plan has been rolled out to transform the industrial city center into a vibrant district. Proposed green spaces, hotels, restaurants, and event, music and sports venues, plus affordable housing, are all amenities attractive to young adults.
So Many Choices
Young buyers have a range of options in Greater Chattanooga, from urban settings to suburban communities, rural settings and small towns. And, depending on you ZIP code, commute times average 25 minutes.
Amber Robertson, who, along with her husband, Chris, owns Chattanooga Dental Studio, wanted a home in a rural setting.
“We choose to live in the Ooltewah area because we still have access to all the excellent schools in Chattanooga, and we have a touch of the country life,” Robertson says. “We didn’t want our two daughters to grow up thinking a horse or a cow was an exotic animal. Plus, we are only a short drive from downtown.”