After the establishment of an “Innovation District” in downtown Chattanooga last year and news about the re-design of Miller Park, local developers have urged the city to go even further and designate a “Gentrification District.”
“We love Chattanooga and its natural beauty, its diverse culture and opportunities, but it’s just too doggone affordable,” said local developer Kit Hannincuff. “We must do something about it. A Gentrification District would be a start.”
“I mean, there are still some bars where you can get a craft beer for only $4,” said Hannincuff. “What’s that about? It should cost at least the minimum wage.”
According to the Times Free Press, 2,000 rental units located downtown are currently under construction, and between 2007 and 2012, rent in Chattanooga increased 26 percent, putting it in seventh place in the entire nation for fastest-rising median rent, just behind San Francisco.
“Here’s my vision for the Gentrification District,” said Hannincuff. “First, you find an area of town with cheap property, and you convince young artists and bohemians to live there, to boost the neighborhood’s cultural cachet.”
“Soon, every young professional will want to live near these free-spirited libertines, beardos and manic pixies,” said Hannincuff. “Once you have a few brewpubs, high-end coffee shops and restaurants that have menus with ‘small plates’ sections, then you start jacking up the rent. Big time.”
Opponents of the Gentrification District have been vocal.
“Why limit gentrification to a single district, when you can have it everywhere, in Orchard Knob and Highland Park and East Chattanooga?” said one opponent.