Lovemans' latest facelift

Lovemans' latest facelift

October 18th, 2009 by Mike Pare in Businesstopstory

Staff Photo by Dan Henry Anne Najjar, commercial sales director of Real Estate Partners, left, listens as William Sudderth, president of the Chattanooga Land Co., speaks about his redevelopment of the second floor of the Lovemans building in downtown Chattanooga located at the corner of Market and Eighth streets.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry Anne Najjar, commercial...

The last undeveloped part of the historic Lovemans building is undergoing a facelift as plans call to turn the structure's second floor into office or residential condominiums.

"We feel like the timing is pretty good," said Bill Sudderth, president of developer Chattanooga Land Co., about the project in the heart of downtown.

Plans are to break the 30,000 square feet of space at Eighth and Market streets into slices of 2,000 to 10,000 square feet, said Chris Crimmins, the company's vice president.

The space is going for $80 per square foot to $125 per square foot, he said.

Anne Najjar, Real Estate Partners' commercial sales director, said the location would make good live-work space.

She said the second floor also holds parking on the same level.

Chattanooga Land bought the second floor of the six-story former longtime department store last year, acquiring it as part of a deal with the Maclellan Foundation.

The development group sold the four-level Market Center building at M.L. King Boulevard and Broad to Maclellan. The foundation had obtained the Lovemans' second story earlier in the decade, said Mr. Crimmins.

Mr. Crimmins said Chattanooga Land has stripped the plaster away from the walls, exposing the original brick. He said the space also will have loft ceilings and vintage hardwood floors.

Ms. Najjar said the location would work well for attorneys or advertising and graphics designs firms, for example.

Chattanooga Land Co. officials say they've already landed one tenant, but declined to identify it.


Mr. Sudderth said interested parties have asked the development group for similar space over the last decade.

"Loft-style space in Chattanooga in this size - there are not any other projects like this," he said.

Mr. Sudderth also said the work is "a manageable size" given the economy.

"I wouldn't bring on 100,000 square feet of new space," he said. Chattanooga Land also plans to shift its offices from the James Building to Lovemans. Officials wouldn't say how much they're investing in the project.

The building dates back to the 1890s. For many years, the site was a Lovemans department store and later a Proffitt's, until it moved out of downtown. The building was closed in 1993 and vacant until 1997.

A developer later bought it and gave the structure new life. The third through sixth stories were redeveloped into residential condos, while the ground floor became commercial space, now holding Cohutta Banking Co.

"This is the last piece that hasn't been done," Mr. Sudderth said.