West Village developers buy, rebrand downtown Chattanooga boutique hotel

Century-old Clemons building sells for $17.5 million

Photo by Dave Flessner / The six-story Clemons building, erected in 1918 and pictured Friday, features 54 one-, two- and three-bedroom hotel rooms. The former Bode hotel switches to the Hotel Clemons after being sold last week.

The developers of the West Village have added a fifth hotel in downtown Chattanooga to their portfolio and rebranded the boutique hotel to hearken back to its former use as the Clemons Bros. furniture manufacturing and sales building.

The Defoor Brothers Hospitality Group took over the former Bode Hotel at Chestnut and Eighth streets last week after a real estate investment group known as Clemons on Chestnut LLC bought the century-old building for $17.5 million in May. The new owners paid 75% more than the $10 million purchase price for the building in 2018, when it was acquired by a California investment firm known as TMC Hospitality, according to property records filed with the Hamilton County Register of Deeds.

The former owners bought the 81,174-square-foot building when the structure was used for apartments with a first-floor retail outlet.

TMC converted the six-story structure, which was built in 1918, to a boutique hotel under the Bode boutique hotel franchise.

The Defoors have renamed the 54-room inn the Hotel Clemons and are turning over management to Olga Ottelson, who previously managed the Defoors' only Florida hotel, the Islander in Vero Beach, Florida.

Michael Palmer, who managed the Bode Hotel in Chattanooga for the past two years, said Friday he will be relocating to the Bode Hotel in Nashville after a transition. Palmer said most of the rest of the hotel staff will continue.

Hotel Clemons includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The rooms in the Bode hotel have rented anywhere from $130 up to about $600 a night, depending upon the size of the unit and the time of the year, Palmer said.

The Defoors, who converted the former BlueCross Gold building on Pine Street into a 260-room Westin Hotel in 2017, have since built or purchased the nearby 343-room Chattanooga Marriott Downtown hotel on M.L. King Boulevard, the 117-room Hotel Indigo on West Sixth Street, and the 140-room Hotel Bo on Carter Street, prior to buying the Bode Hotel.

The lobby in the Hotel Clemons hosts game tables, a cafe, lounge and working area. Most of the hotel guests with cars have used the nearby Citi parking garage on Chestnut Street, which is also owned by the Defoors as part of their West Village development.

On a first-floor garage area of the building, Palmer helped create a stage, bar and event space for special occasions. Palmer said the entertainment space was typically used about once a week.

Representatives of the Defoor Brothers were unavailable Friday to talk about their plans for their newest property.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.