Key downtown Chattanooga structure becoming home to CWC

Key downtown Chattanooga structure becoming home to CWC

October 17th, 2010 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Oct 6, 2010 CWC, an office furnishings and supplies business, will be located in the Hub Building on Broad Street.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press...

A downtown Chattanooga landmark is returning to a well-known use.

The Hub Building will soon hold CWC, a longtime Atlanta-based office furnishings and supplies business.

CWC is opening a showroom and offices this month in the structure at Seventh and Broad streets.

With its large picture windows, the building is a clear fit for CWC's new East Tennessee headquarters, said Mark Henley, the site's director.

"It's a perfect showroom location," he said. "I know this is where we needed to be."

The company is leasing 5,000 square feet on the ground floor of the building, Henley said.

"This is A-1," he said about the location.

John Healy of Sperry Van Ness/Elder Healy Commercial said CWC officials looked at Chattanooga's suburbs and Amnicola Highway before settling on the central business district.

He said CWC is the first tenant in the building, which was vacated by former owner BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee after the insurer built its new headquarters on nearby Cameron Hill.

"There are three floors of office that's marketed as well," Healy said, noting CWC is "part of the transformation of the building."

Real estate partnerships formed by Republic Parking owner Jim Berry bought the building which sits near his flagship Republic Centre.

Kim White, president of the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group RiverCity Co., said it provided some retail recruitment funding to CWC to do general improvement.

"It's a fantastic addition," she said, adding downtown doesn't have that kind of business in the central city.

Henley, a Baylor School alum who returned to Chattanooga after a career in telecommunications, said CWC is a Herman Miller-certified network dealer but it represents other manufacturers as well.

CWC has employed about three other people so far, he said, and hopes to bring on two or three more in a year. They're complimented by 120 people in Atlanta.

"It really allows us to do the great work we do for clients such as the size of Unum," Henley said.

Henley declined to discuss financial goals for the new office, but is targeting large corporate customers and smaller businesses.

"It runs the gamit," he said.

CWC also does office design and project management, Henley said.

"We're beginning to see companies coming out of what was a rough past year," he said. "We're optimistic as we head into next year."

Henley noted that indicators show Chattanooga is better off than many cities. He noted that Business Facilities magazine recently ranked Chattanooga as No. 1 in the country for metro economic growth potential.

Healy said the Hub Building is being converted into a multitenant building as the lobbies are being refurbished. He said there's another 5,000 square feet of first-floor space fronting Broad.

For years, the Hub Building was home to a Hub Furniture store that was itself a part of the Fowler Bros. Co. operation. Hub Furniture dated back to the 1930s.