For about a century, Wheland Foundries and U.S. Pipe & Foundry were among Chattanooga's key manufacturers and reasons why the city earned its Dynamo of Dixie nickname.
Today, planners and the owners of the closed plants' 140-acre site near downtown think the location will forge a 21st century economic engine for the city.
An early blueprint for reuse of the land between South Broad Street and Interstate 24 outlines an array of new housing, retail and other businesses, including light industry.
The site could become a place where people live, work and play, said Michael Mallen, a principal in the group that owns the two adjacent former foundry properties.
"We think we're seeing the genesis of a plan that would allow for a true town center," he said.