published Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

‘Golden’ hotel at former ‘Blue’

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    The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee gold building at 801 Pine St., has been purchased by developers Ken and Byron DeFoor for $6.15 million. Staff photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Anyone driving through Chattanooga’s downtown is sure to notice the tall, golden, glass-clad building.

Many will identify it as the former headquarters of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, before the successful insurer required additional space. That prompted the construction of the larger and even more spectacular BlueCross BlueShield headquarters on nearby Cameron Hill.

Now the “Gold Building,” which was designed by world-famous architect John Portman of Atlanta, apparently is destined for a new and exciting use.

Developer Ken Defoor reportedly paid $6.15 million for the 180,000-square-foot building on Pine Street. And he now intends to spend $10 million — or more — to convert the noteworthy building into a luxurious, 200-room downtown hotel!

With the building so readily identifiable, and with its views of Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain and downtown, it should have a real appeal to Chattanooga visitors, who will be wowed by the scenic vistas.

We look forward to seeing Defoor’s imaginative plans go forward, and hope for a really “golden” success.

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