published Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Berry swoops in amid slump

Chattanooga businessman Jim Berry is adding to his downtown real estate holdings with the purchase of a well-known Chestnut Street address.

A Berry company, Republic Parking Systems International LLC, last week bought the three-story structure at 535 Chestnut St. that for many years housed IBM’s Chattanooga offices.

The sale price was $1.8 million, or less than $23 per square foot, according to the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. The seller was listed as Southeast Local Development Corp., which had owned the building for the past decade.

Steve Hunt, managing partner of the Berry & Hunt real estate firm, said the group plans to call the 80,000-square-foot structure the Five Thirty Five building. He said the building is about half full with tenants, including Belhaven University.

Hunt said that Berry, chairman of Republic Parking Systems, is bullish on downtown despite the vacancy of more than a million square feet of commercial space in Chattanooga.

“Our downtown is thriving compared to some,” Hunt said. “Downtown has a good heartbeat.”

Last year, Berry bought the 17-story Chestnut Tower just across Sixth Street from Five Thirty Five. Now renamed Liberty Tower, the high-rise is getting a $20 million makeover as the Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel law firm prepares to shift to the site.

Berry also owns the 21-story Republic Centre building next door to Liberty Tower, where his parking company is headquartered.

Hunt said Berry additionally owns a parking garage on Sixth directly behind Five Thirty Five.

“That will have a lot of appeal” to tenants, he said, noting the Five Thirty Five will be renovated. “We’ll spruce it up and continue to fill it up.”

Chattanooga-based Republic Parking employs 2,600 people worldwide and up to 150 locally. It generates revenues of about $360 million a year, according to Berry.

Kim White, who heads the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co., said property purchases by major downtown landlords such as Berry and Henry Luken of Luken Holdings is “a great signal.”

Tom Francescon, immediate past president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Council, said he’s encouraged by the investments in downtown.

“We have a lot of space available,” Francescon said. “To me, (Berry’s purchase) is an indication of the growth in the Chattanooga community.”

about Mike Pare...

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 ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
lenaphilips44 said...

The sale price was $1.8 million, or less than $23 per square foot, according to the Hamilton County Assessor of Property.The Refi Plus program will waive the normal credit score requirement for a refinance; it will have reduced documentation standards for proof of income; and it will allow for computer-based appraisals, which tend to inflate the value of a home and make it easier to qualify for a refinance. Search online for "Refinance 123" they are the best and fast.

July 3, 2011 at 3:06 a.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.