La Quinta Hotel planned for Chattanooga's Southside

Construction of a new La Quinta Hotel at Cowart and 13th streets is slated to begin this October. / Contributed rendering by Ideis Design Architecture
Construction of a new La Quinta Hotel at Cowart and 13th streets is slated to begin this October. / Contributed rendering by Ideis Design Architecture

A La Quinta Hotel is the latest brand to join downtown Chattanooga's surging number of lodging options as a developer plans to start work on the Southside in October.

Rivermont Hospitality of Chattanooga plans to put up the six-story, 123-unit hotel along with a two-level parking garage on a vacant site at Cowart and 13th streets. Ben Berry, president of Berry Engineers, said the multimillion-dollar project will also include 14,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.

While the tract doesn't front Market Street, the hotel will be pushed as close as possible to that artery, Berry said. He expected the hotel to open in late 2020 or early 2021.

The La Quinta is the latest hotel product slated to join an array of others which have recently opened, are under construction or on the drawing board.

The land for the hotel near The Chattanoogan is one that a Knoxville developer had eyed for a seven-story apartment building, but work never began. Belle Development Group had considered putting a 140-unit apartment complex offering a mix of one-bedroom and efficiency units aimed at young professionals and the downtown workforce.

Berry said plans for the La Quinta Hotel call for people to enter the hotel from Cowart Street with the commercial space facing 13th Street.

He said that while there will be some handicap surface parking, the remainder will be in the two-level garage.

Amy Donahue, director of marketing and communications for the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group River City Co., said new hotels in the Southside have lagged other parts of the city.

"If you think about it, of all the hotels downtown, the majority are concentrated on the riverfront or the city center," she said.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo, which is undergoing a large-scale redevelopment in the Southside, has cut the number of its hotel rooms by about two-thirds over the past two decade. The Choo Choo has added apartments and more restaurants and entertainment venues as it evolved into a a place where people can live, work, shop and play.

But in the past year, more than 500 new hotel rooms or vacation rental apartments have been either added or plans already announced at a half dozen new hotel projects in the downtown area.

The Moxy hotel by Chattanooga-based 3H Group opened in late 2018 in the Southside. That $19 million, 108-room hotel at Market and King streets also is targeting millennials.

Also announced for the Southside, Vision Hospitality wants to construct a four-level, 64-room property called the Kinley is to go up on what's now a parking lot across Market Street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

In the central business district, a proposed vast makeover has begun of the empty Chattanooga Bank Building into a $35 million hotel project at Broad and Eighth streets. The 92-year-old tower is to become a 144-unit independently branded hotel, according to Biloxi, Mississippi-based Lodging and Leisure Investments.

Meanwhile, at Pine and Sixth streets, a former downtown apartment building undergoing a transformation from apartments to a boutique hotel. The 300 apartment building will be badged as a Hotel Indigo, and include 117 hotel rooms, said Vic Desai, a partner in ViaNova Development.

Nearby at the former Clemons Lofts apartments at Chestnut and 8th streets, a Bode Hotel opened earlier this year. When fully developed, it will include 54 units, including one-, two- and three-bedroom options.

In the 700 block of Market Street, 53 units of the 125 apartments originally proposed in the Market City Center also are being converted this summer into longer-term travel apartments under the Stay Alfred hotel brand.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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