Multimillion-dollar Tomorrow Building planned for Chattanooga

Multimillion-dollar Tomorrow Building planned for Chattanooga

March 4th, 2015 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The Yesterday's building in downtown Chattanooga soon will morph into the Tomorrow Building.

The four-story historic landmark at Patten Parkway and Georgia Avenue will undergo a multimillion-dollar remake into new apartments designed to house budding entrepreneurs and innovators.

Lamp Post Group and River City Co. are refurbishing the Yesterday's building into apartments.

Lamp Post Group and River City Co. are...

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

"As we work to build a first-rate tech hub here in our city, the Tomorrow Building was a great way to bring workforce housing and density to city center," said Tiffanie Robinson, director of operations at Chattanooga's Lamp Post Group.

Lamp Post, a venture incubator that brings funding and support to entrepreneurs, will team with the nonprofit redevelopment group River City Co., in the project.

The building, also formerly known as the Ross Hotel, will hold 43 so-called "micro-living" apartments each about 300 square feet in size.

Joda Thongnopnua, Lamp Post's communications director, said rents are expected to range from $750 to $950 a month.

"We're obviously trying to keep it on the lower end of that scale," he said in an email. "That said, utilities (Internet, power, etc.) will be included regardless of the price."

The building will have common living and "innovation spaces," according to Lamp Post, where tenants can collaborate on emerging projects and ideas. The building is located just across Georgia Avenue from Lamp Post, which termed the project "another bold step toward defining the city as an innovative place for the best and brightest minds."

The Tomorrow Building will feature apartments 300 square feet in size. The building also will hold common living and "innovation spaces."

The Tomorrow Building will feature apartments 300 square...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Plans also are to offer community programming in the Tomorrow Building, including regular dinners with tenants as well as talks and workshops with industry experts.

Renovation on the 28,800-square-foot structure, which dates back to 1888, is to begin within the next month with hopes of finishing by year's end, Thongnopnua said.

Kim White, who heads River City Co., said the revamped building will be "cutting edge" and fit the way its planned tenants live and work, adding that efforts will focus on providing technology in the structure.

The refurbishing of the building is seen as the first step in a bigger redoing of the Patten Parkway and Miller Park district into a pedestrian-friendly gathering place, White said.

"We felt that it would be a catalyst," she said.

River City, with help from the Benwood Foundation, bought the rundown building nearly a year ago for $1.2 million.

White said River City sold 92 percent of its interest in the building to Lamp Post. River City's not putting more money into the project, she said. But the nonprofit agency is staying in to ensure the project is designed properly and carried out.

"After a certain amount of time, we'll step out of it," White said.

The former Ross Hotel will be remodeled into new apartments.

The former Ross Hotel will be remodeled into...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The total cost of the development, or what Lamp Post paid for its interest, wasn't revealed.

Officials said they're continuing to work through how to handle tenant parking.

"We're talking with our partners on what to do to alleviate parking concerns," Thongnopnua said.

White said she expects many of the tenants will be bike riders, making a protected bike network important.

According to Lamp Post, the Tomorrow Building is designed for "big thinkers."

"We are so excited to embark on this adventure," Robinson said. "It's a huge opportunity to show off the unique benefits of working on the most interesting and innovative projects right here in Chattanooga."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.