Edney Innovation Center in downtown Chattanooga's Innovation District sold to real estate group

Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter / Mayor Andy Berke, center left, and Brookings Institute scholar and author Bruce Katz look out over Chattanooga from the roof of the Edney Innovation Center while touring the downtown Innovation District in 2018.

The Edney Innovation Center, known as the so-called hub of Chattanooga's Innovation District, was sold Friday by its local owners to a Wisconsin-based real estate group.

Urban Story Ventures, co-owned by Chattanoogans Jimmy White and Hiren Desai, sold the 10-story Edney building at Market and East 11th streets to Hendricks Commercial Properties.

Hendricks invests in, manages and develops real estate throughout the United States. The purchase price for the 85,000-square-foot building wasn't disclosed.

White said it's time for Urban Story Ventures, which bought the former TVA building in 2015 for $1.35 million, to move onto its next revitalization project.

The company is in the initial phases of redeveloping the former 115-acre Alstom manufacturing site along Riverfront Parkway. White has said the proposed redevelopment of that property could bring $2 billion to $3 billion in investments and spur more than 5,000 jobs.

Still, White said he's excited to see the Edney end up with Hendricks.

"It has been a pleasure to work with the Hendricks team in selling this asset," he said. "At Urban Story Ventures, we like to focus on adding value to projects through development and now it is time to focus on our next revitalization."

Desai said Hendricks has "an impeccable reputation across the nation for making a positive impact on the communities in which they invest."

"We are confident Hendricks will continue to improve our community through ownership of this property," he said.

Key tenants in the Edney include the business accelerator The Company Lab, the Enterprise Center, which oversees the Innovation District, and co-working space provider Society of Work.

The 140-acre Innovation District located in the heart of the city center has drawn global attention. Championed by Mayor Andy Berke, the aim was to develop a place where entrepreneurs, tech-based startups, and business incubators could mesh and create a so-called innovation ecosystem.

The Edney was renovated and turned into a hub for the district in the effort to grow the city's knowledge economy.

Urban Story Ventures also is in the second phase of the development of King Street Station, a $35 million project at Market and King streets in downtown's Southside.

That redevelopment turned an abandoned cold storage facility and dilapidated surface lot into an adaptive reuse office building and boutique hotel, adding about 470 new jobs to the area. The formerly vacant structure is 100% leased and 50% occupied by local and national businesses.

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