Work begins on another boutique hotel in Chattanooga's growing Southside entertainment district

Vision Hospitality Corp. expects to open the Kinley next year

Construction began this week on a 64-room Kinley hotel scheduled to open next year at 1409 Market Street across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo. / Rendering by the Chattanooga architectural firm of Tinker Ma, Inc., contributed photo from Vision Hospitality

Chattanooga's biggest hotel developer began work Monday on another boutique hotel downtown targeted at millennial guests eager to stay in the city's growing Southside entertainment district.

Vision Hospitality Corp., which has already built or renovated the Edwin, Doubletree, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in downtown Chattanooga over the past two decades, is building its newest brand hotel, the Kinley, at 1409 Market Street. The 64-room hotel will offer a so-called speakeasy for food and drink and even include bunk beds in some rooms.

It is being built across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo which has phased out more than two thirds of the hotel rooms it once operated in favor of restaurants, bars and apartments in the redeveloping Southside of downtown.

Vision Hospitality will debut its first Kinley boutique hotel this spring in downtown Cincinnati and expects to open the Chattanooga Kinley next year.

The Chattanooga Kinley was announced in late 2018, but Vision Hospitality CEO Mitch Patel said "the timing is now right" to start work on the four-level hotel, which is being built in a vacant parking on Market Street.

"We knew if we were going to add this new brand that we have developed internally, we have to do one in our hometown," Patel said. "We felt like the Southside was a great location and gives us a great opportunity to showcase this brand."

The Kinley hotels will feature different food and beverage options, including a rooftop bar in some markets, a speakeasy in others or a full three-meal restaurant in other markets. At the Chattanooga Kinley, there will be a speakeasy at the rear of the hotel, which will be accessed through a rear alley and should prove popular for both hotel guests and local patrons.

"There is nothing like this in this neighborhood and we hope to do well," Patel said. "There are obviously other boutique hotels that have been added downtown, but we have a lot of confidence in Chattanooga which continues to grow and mature as a market."

In Cincinnati, Vision Hospitality is teaming up at its first Kinley Hotel with Edward Lee, a Brooklyn-born Korean-American chef made his name in Louisville and won the James Beard award for Best Book for "Buttermilk Graffiti," which explores the melting pot cuisine of today's America.

The new hotel name is derived from the word kinship and is designed to be a place where it's easy to feel connected and at home.

"It's catering to a new generation of folks," said Ross Edwards, vice president of development and construction for Chattanooga-based Vision Hospitality Group.

Patel said the Kinley hotels are designed to "bring the hotel experience back to the root of what makes traveling such a desirable pastime – connecting with other travelers, connecting with the community you've come to explore, and connecting with yourself,."

The uncheck-in desk provides a place for guests to touch down without the formality of a standard desk, and items from local artisans will be on display and available for purchase. Patel said a coffee bar will invite patrons to enjoy a range of specialty coffee drinks crafted from regional roasters and arts and crafts from local purveyors "will provide a warm and inviting environment, with appealing, distinctive lounge seating inviting travelers to sit and stay awhile."

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or at 423-757-6340.