The food court at Warehouse Row downtown will take on new flavor with the opening of Blue Coast Burrito in late August.
Franchise owner Richard Martin, who opened his first store in Chattanooga a year ago on Highway 153, said construction is scheduled to begin this week.
The eatery, which will join Cozzoli’s Pizza and Taiwan Express, will be 800 square feet. Customers will order at the counter then sit at tables in the 2,753-square-foot food court which can seat up to 160 people.
Mr. Martin said his decision to locate in Warehouse Row was based on the growth plan for the mixed-use shopping complex.
Blue Coast Burrito operates three company-owned stores in Middle Tennessee and eight franchised restaurants in the Southeast. The new restaurant at Warehouse Row will be the ninth franchised store.
In March 2008, officials announced plans to update the old buildings comprising Warehouse Row.
Pellerin & Salomon, which is overseeing the work, has started on what could be one of the biggest building makeovers in Chattanooga’s downtown in years if the project unfolds as planned. The entire project could end up as a $30 million to $33 million investment, officials have said.
To help access the food court, workers have begun to create a better entrance from Market Street.
Other improvements include turning elevators around on the south end of the complex to create a better retail environment on that side.
Workers recently completed refurbishing areas on the top floors on the south end of the Market and Houston streets center.
Officials continue to look at a possible hotel for the site’s north end.
“I think the downtown market, especially that side of downtown, is going through major revitalization and it’s something we want to be a part of,” Mr. Martin said.
Blue Coast Burrito’s menu takes a fresh approach to south-of-the-border fare with build-your-own burritos, fish tacos and salads. Mr. Martin plans to offer the same menu at the new location, minus the small, child-sized burritos. He considers this area to be more of an adult dining venue.
John Jewell, vice president of Crye-Lieke’s commercial real estate division and a leasing agent for Warehouse Row, said Blue Coast will be “a great addition.”
“Our goal is finding the right mix of potential food service operators. And this new restaurant is the right mix, we think,” he said.
But there’s still room for more, and Mr. Jewell said officials are currently in negotiation to bring added vendors into the food court.