When you think of tech hubs, Chattanooga doesn’t usually come to mind. But the historic Tennessee town of 150,000 is looking to lure some techies with a new relocation program that will offer $10,000 in incentives for those eligible geeks who make the leap over to Lookout Mountain.
The “Geek Move” program arrived in my inbox this morning, and it caught my eye as it highlighted just how coveted computer science jobs are across the country. (See previous story: “Study: The top 10 cities, jobs and employers for computer science grads.”) Sponsored by the Lyndhurst Foundation and administered by Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, the new Geek Move program will offer eligible individuals a $10,000 forgivable mortgage and $1,250 for relocation expenses.
“The Geek Move program is part of our city’s long-term commitment to grow our talent pool and to help skilled developers and programmers fulfill their dream of homeownership,” said J. Ed. Marston of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce in a press release sent to GeekWire. To be eligible, “professional geeks” must live 50 miles outside of the region and purchase a home within one of 10 neighborhoods in the city.
Now, $10,000 in a forgivable mortgage might not seem like much, especially for those who live in places like Seattle where starter homes cost in excess of $400,000. But Chattanooga, according to Zillow stats, had a median list price of just $153,500. (Seattle’s is $399,000).
But there has to be more than just cheap homes to attract techies. And that’s why the Chattanooga also is touting its community-wide “Gig” fiber network, one which offers up to 1 Gbps of broadband service across the entire metro area.
If that doesn’t get you excited, the Chattanooga Chamber’s Web site notes that the average annual temperature is 60.3 degrees and average annual rainfall is 53.4 inches.
Hey wait just one minute.
Seattle’s average annual precipitation is just 38 inches. So you can move to the Tennessee town to enjoy their tech community. But don’t move there to escape the rain.