Downtown Chattanooga tower to hold 46 condos in $22 million project

Contributed Photo / Park Tower at 117 E. Seventh St. is shown in an aerial photo. The former hotel is to hold 46 condominiums, according to its developer.

A Chattanooga developer is building 46 new condominiums downtown as he renovates a nine-story former hotel into one of the tallest private residential towers in the central city.

"It has 360-degree views," developer Sean Compton said during an interview in the building at 117 E. Seventh St., not far from the Hamilton County Courthouse.

Compton, president of Southern Spear Properties, put the project that he's calling Park Tower at about $22 million when built out.

For many years, the site held the Park Hotel, which Compton said was luxury lodging when it opened in 1915.

"People stayed here from all over the country," he said. "It had one of the original rooftop bars."

The hotel closed years later and the property was owned by county government for offices and other uses, Compton said.

The new condos are to range from $220,000 to $550,000 each, with prices rising as the floors go higher, said Compton's wife, Lizz, during a tour of the building where demolition is well underway.

"The ninth floor will have its own rooftop terrace," she said.

Sean Compton said the price of the full-floor penthouse will likely hit about $2.7 million, adding that presales of all units are nearing about 50%. The developer said the condos will boast granite and quartz countertops, steel appliances and high-end finishes.

  photo  Staff Photo by Mike Pare / The roof at Park Tower offers 360-degree views of the central city to residents, according to developer Sean Compton, second from left. Also pictured Friday are, from left, his wife, Lizz Compton; Gregory Depasquale of Depasquale Properties; and Ashley Missel of Missel Commercial.

Broker Ashley Missel, of Missel Commercial, said during the tour that the lobby will be full service, including a doorman. An attached building next door, which Compton also owns, will offer commercial services, she said.

Parking will be all valet, with spaces available nearby in the Hamilton County Courts Building's garage, real estate agent Gregory Depasquale of Depasquale Properties said in an interview.

"It will be part of the HOA," he said.

Compton said he's saving as much of the original finishes in the building as possible, such as marble floors in the lobby and original metal stair railings. Some of the original stonework was salvaged, he said.

"We'll put it back up in the lobby," the developer said.

On the exterior of the building, the hope is to remove the metal-like cladding to reveal brick, Compton said.

Missel said the developer is returning the building "to its glory days."

"It will create a unique level of look," she said, terming it "gilded industrial."

Compton said he likes the proximity of the tower to major public buildings, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, banks, theaters and restaurants.

"It's got location. Period," he said.

Park Tower is near a 112-year-old building that's undergoing a restoration that held the Classic Coin and Jewelry store downtown for decades. Lawrence Dossche of KRE Development is renovating that structure to offer both retail and office space.

The Park Tower development comes as a new study of downtown shows there's a significant unmet demand for more rental and for-sale housing, but there's also a lot of under-utilized office space.

The study for the Chattanooga nonprofit redevelopment group River City Co. also found a need for more downtown neighborhood-type services such as grocers, pharmacies, fitness centers and other businesses.

In addition to Park Tower, Compton is redeveloping the longtime Lucey Boiler industrial site on South Holtzclaw Avenue near the National Cemetery. He said earlier he sees that mixed-use project as a potential $20 million development.

Additionally, Compton is the chief executive of Chattanooga structural steel contracting company Southern Spear Ironworks.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.