At 1.2 million square feet, the 27-acre Peerless Mills site is the largest parcel in the heart of Rossville, Georgia. Located just three miles south of downtown Chattanooga in Tennessee, Rossville’s downtown revitalization will largely be shaped by the redevelopment of the Peerless property. Since the Great Recession, rural downtowns across the country are undergoing a redevelopment renaissance. While larger communities like Chattanooga have amenities that draw talent, the cost of starting a business and the overall cost of living to be “close to everything” can be burdensome. Recognizing the opportunity to capitalize on their assets, the city of Rossville and the ReDev Workshop submitted an application to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) for an assessment of their strategic priorities for the local government to use as a roadmap to pursue the city’s economic development goals. The objective is not to re-invent the wheel, but to suggest actions that will enable the city of Rossville to prioritize its most pressing needs, and to help enhance and strengthen the work of the ReDev Workshop.
Most of Rossville, including the Peerless Mills site, is located in a federally designated Opportunity Zone (OZ), which encourages private investors to take an equity stake in economic development through local businesses, real estate, or development projects in exchange for a reduction in tax liability over time. However, Rossville has not yet seen this infusion of much needed private investment from the OZ program. With this in mind, Georgia Tech recommended that Rossville focus on improving its public stormwater infrastructure and activate its downtown development association (DDA), which would provide a strong foundation for the eventual redevelopment of the Peerless Mills complex and facilitate other development in the city.
Outcomes of the Study: Rossville was recently designated by DCA as a “Rural Zone” community
EDRP is Georgia Tech’s signature program for providing affordable economic development research and analysis capacity for communities that need it the most. EDRP is funded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center grant program. EDRP is available to eligible communities across eight southeastern U.S. states. Applications are currently being accepted to EDRP, please apply here.