A 120-year-old building on East Main Street on Chattanooga's Southside was bought for $1.2 million, and the buyer is looking at putting a boutique hotel in the structure.
"I think the Southside could use a small boutique hotel," said Chattanooga real estate developer Kevin Boehm about the three-story structure at 100 E. Main St. known as the Levin Brothers Building.
The dilapidated 17,160-square-foot structure sits at Mitchell Avenue, just a block away from the former Southside YMCA Building that a Virginia group is renovating into a social club. Boehm said he has talked to that group about joining.
"I'm in conversation with them to see if a hotel and the social club could work together," he said about Common House, which is slated to open late this year and breathe new life into the long-vacant old YMCA. Boehm said he's working with the same designer as Common House, Boca Architectural & Interior Design.
The developer said his building, which had served as a furniture and grocery store through the years, was vacant for as long as four or five decades.
Bryan Rudisill, vice president of NAI Charter Real Estate, said the building had been "left fallow way too long."
But, said Rudisill, there's a lot of energy going on in the Southside in terms of development.
Boehm said he plans to preserve the Levin Brothers Building, noting it's on the National Register of Historical Places. He said that high winds blew off the back of the building about a decade ago, and then-owner Thomas Faulkner put in steel support beams and rebuilt the rear wall.
"It's important to preserve these old buildings, preserve the character they have," Boehm said.
He termed the Southside "the most dynamic part of town."
"It's the new entertainment center," the developer said, citing the revival of the Chattanooga Choo Choo property.
An array of new housing, apartments, townhouses, single-family homes and condominiums, has gone up or is planned for the Southside.
Earlier this month, Chattanooga-based Vision Hospitality Group broke ground on the Kinley hotel, a 64-unit boutique hotel, on Market Street across from the Choo Choo.
Also this month, a developer unveiled plans for a 56-unit townhouse complex on East 20th Street on the site of a former hotel that was recently demolished.
At Broad and West 17th Streets, a $30 million apartment complex with 158 units is nearing completion. Last October, Chestnut Flats with 199 apartment units opened nearby on Chestnut Street just south of Riverfront Parkway.
The Fletcher Bright Co. plans to put up a three-story, 17-unit condominium complex on a vacant lot at Long and West 16th streets, behind the former Grocery Bar building.
Ethan Collier, another Chattanooga developer, is building higher-end townhomes at 1400 Williams St. Collier also has plans for 20 townhomes near the East Main and Central Avenue intersection.
Developer Mike Long, who owns Proficiency Property Management & Construction LLC, is raising a 10-unit condo project at Main and Jefferson streets.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.