Developer Bassam Issa took over the 14-acre site in September 2010 from Northwest Georgia Bank after it was caught up in Tobie McKenzie’s bankruptcy. The bank resolved all of the mitigation issues and Issa was able to start marketing the property very quickly.
“I was able to turn the property around and get a 21,000-square-foot business in one of the outparcels as a backward step,” he said. “Instead of doing the back first, which is the major tenant, we’re bringing the smaller guy to bring in the big guy.”
The question for Issa is how fast can it be developed with the proper tenants occupying the premises. The anchor store could be a food store or other store for daily use.
He said it would be one of several respectable national chain stores he is talking to — but it is still wait-and-see. More than likely, there will be prominent fine dining restaurants on the two corners.
“It’s still a good development, but it would help a lot if we get a full entrance,” he said.
Mouse Creek is developing backward from other shopping centers because of right-in right-out only access to the parkway. The outparcels on the corners of Peerless Road and Mouse Creek Road are being held up until a decision is made on the traffic light.
“The entrance needs a traffic light to get the big tenants,” he said. “Development of the property and the speed of development is going to come down to getting full entrance on Paul Huff Parkway and getting things developed in the proper manner,” he said.
“We’ve got two other tenants ready to sign up that are waiting to see if we get the traffic light or not. Another major national chain that was going to be end-cap of this shopping center turned us down and went to another location based on the fact that it’s too hard to get in and out.
“Not having a full entrance made it easy for them to say no and look for another location,” he said.
Though he cannot identify them, Issa said he has a lot of other prospects “and pretty soon things will move very quickly once we resolve the entrance. If we don’t get that, we don’t know how fast we can develop this property.”
Issa is owner of ANT Group in Chattanooga. He has been a developer for about 20 years. Locally, Issa owned Glen-Gene Hamburger and Steak Restaurant in Bradley Square Mall and later on 25th Street.