Chattanooga Airport plans to buy the land housing the SkyZoo nightclub, a move that could shut down the Lee Highway business the city tried to shut down last year amid a flurry of police calls and protests. a deadly shootout.
The owner has agreed to sell the land for $950,000 at 5709 Lee Highway, adjacent to a much larger parcel already owned by Lovell Field, airport general manager Terry Hart said Monday.
Hart told the Airport Authority in a meeting that completing the purchase was dependent on the seller completing an acceptable environmental review and ensuring the building is tenant-free.
“There is no will to keep the building in place,” he said.
Hart said there are plans to use the SkyZoo area and adjacent parcel for future airport-related activities, although those have yet to be determined.
“For future development, we think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
In 2019, a study by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency said the corner of Lee Highway and Jubilee Drive could contain a hotel as well as up to 50,000 square feet of commercial, office or flexible industrial space. .
SkyZoo’s landowner is identified by the Hamilton County Real Estate Appraiser as Chenyu Inc. of Dalton, Georgia. The property was last sold in 1998 for $550,000, records show.
In 2020, the airport purchased similar land near SkyZoo for $710,000, according to the assessor’s office.
Much of the airport area once housed a Target store before that parcel was sold and the building was demolished years ago.
In 2021, after a flurry of police calls and a fatal shooting outside the club last May, the city council decided to revoke a decade-old special permit for SkyZoo.
The shooting had prompted Chattanooga’s new mayor’s administration to consider revoking the club’s license.
“Addressing gun violence in the city is a top priority for Mayor Tim Kelly’s administration,” then-chief of staff Brent Goldberg said during a 2021 hearing. said our attorney, the incident that occurred in May essentially brought to light a situation that we felt needed to be addressed and investigated, and that’s what brought us here today.”
Police said at the time they had responded to more than 100 serious calls to the SkyZoo in the past year.
Still, the club remained open by filing an appeal in Hamilton County Chancery Court. He claimed that by revoking the permit, the city had reduced both the nightclub’s hours of operation and the number of patrons allowed on the premises and that the decision had caused “irreparable harm”.
Chattanooga attorney Douglas M. Cox, representing SkyZoo in the case, said in a phone interview Tuesday that SkyZoo is still in business. But he said the owner removed the dance floor and installed pool tables. He said the owner had indicated he wanted to turn the site into a sports bar.
Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.