Terminal Brewhouse operator is buying building that holds his restaurant

The Terminal is located at the corner of Market and Main Streets.
The Terminal is located at the corner of Market and Main Streets.
photo Matt Lewis stands behind the bar at Beast and Barrel, which is set to open around April 15.

Terminal Brewhouse operator Matt Lewis decided to take the future of his business in his own hands as he and his partners exercised an option to buy the building that holds the downtown Chattanooga restaurant.

Henry Glascock, who ran an auction earlier this year involving the The Terminal Building on Market Street near the Chattanooga Choo Choo, said Lewis' group is paying $1.48 million.

"They wanted control of the building," he said. "They're big believers in that business and location and wanted certainty about their future."

The group paid about $205 per square foot for the three-level Terminal Building.

Lewis had right of first refusal after the auction in which real estate broker Thomas Connolly was the high bidder for another local group.

The Terminal Building was part of more than two dozen properties owned by the estate of the late Chattanooga builder Joe Sliger which were auctioned.

Lewis said The Terminal Brewhouse has had "good success" where it's located on downtown's Southside.

"We've had a chance to grow with the area," he said. "I love the fact that people are interested in downtown Chattanooga."

Glascock said the Southside is "a hot area."

"It's obvious that a lot of people are investing big dollars," he said.

The Simpson Organization, an Atlanta-based real estate group, earlier this year paid $36.9 million, or nearly $142 per square foot, for Warehouse Row just a few blocks down Market Street from The Terminal Building. Also, at Market and Main streets, Chattanooga developer John Wise has invested $7 million in a new 63-unit apartment building.

"It's much less of a gamble with people investing big all around you," Glascock said.

The Terminal Building dates back to 1909, according to the restaurant's website. It was built shortly after the opening of nearby Terminal [Railroad] Station, which occupies the Choo Choo site, serving as a hotel.

Then called The Stong Building, it featured steam-heated rooms and meals were served at all hours in a cafe. In the early 1940s, Chester Davis, a porter in Terminal Station, bought the building. He became one of Chattanooga's first black business owners, the website said.

The building stayed in the family, housing different businesses, until it was purchased by Sliger in 2006.

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