A $19 million hotel is slated for a downtown Chattanooga gateway as part of a project that will include new retail and office space and a parking deck.
Locally based Vision Hospitality Group will build a six-story, 140-room Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton at Fourth and Chestnut streets at the site of the Chattanooga Regional History Museum.
The hotel will offer modern, high-tech amenities that business and leisure travelers look for, said Mitch Patel, the group’s chief executive.
A two-level, 170-space parking garage will go up next to the hotel on Chestnut Street, and a two-story building with 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and second-level office space will be built behind the garage and facing Broad Street, Mr. Patel said.
In addition, 27,000 square feet of existing retail space at Broad and Fourth will be refurbished, Mr. Patel said. Rock Point Books is in a portion of that space.
The history museum sold the property to Vision for $2.6 million, according to the Hamilton County register of deeds.
History museum officials have talked about moving their facility to a vacant tract at First and Market streets. The site could house a state-of-the-art facility that would fit with the Tennessee Aquarium, Hunter Museum of American Art and the Bluff View Art District.
Businessman Greg Vital, who owns the property, said the parcel is under contract for the benefit of the history museum.
“I’m doing what it takes to work with the history museum and a private developer to make that a reality,” he said.
David Unruh, project director for the private, nonprofit downtown redevelopment group RiverCity Co., said developers’ interest in adding hotels to the downtown area could be fueled by the growing tourism industry and demands of an underserved market.
Tourists spent about $688.2 million in 2006 in Hamilton County, records show.
“There are not as many rooms as there should be,” he said.
Mr. Unruh said the new retail-office building on Broad Street will sit across from the Jack’s Alley complex and will help build a nucleus for more retail development.
“It makes for a nice walking area on both sides of Broad Street,” he said.
Tom Maynard, manager of Lupi’s Pizza Pies on Broad, said added retail space is needed.
“They’ve been trying to get more retail down here for a long time,” he said, adding that there is only limited space in Jack’s Alley.
Derek Salinger at Greyfriar’s, also on Broad Street, said more foot traffic could mean added business.
“Anything to get more people down here,” he said.
Mark Mourier, Vision’s director of development and acquisitions, said the Hilton project will improve the entire end of the 400 block.
Plans are to start construction in spring 2009 with the hotel opening about a year later.
The Hampton will add to Vision’s portfolio of hotels in the area. The company owns and manages the Hilton Garden Inn about a block away and is overseeing the redevelopment of the nearby Clarion Hotel on Chestnut into a Doubletree Hotel.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...