Bingo's Market to reopen at Patten Towers in downtown Chattanooga

Bingo's Market to reopen at Patten Towers in downtown Chattanooga

December 18th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Breaking News

Manager Tara Williams, left, talk with regular and Patten Towers resident Willie "Fish" Whaley in the new Bingo's Market, located on the building's first floor, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Accessible from Georgia Avenue, the shop carries fresh produce, packaged goods and ready-made meals.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Updated at 4:57 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, with more information.

Manager Tara Williams checks shelves in the new Bingo's Market located on the first floor of Patten Towers on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Accessible from Georgia Avenue, the shop carries fresh produce, packaged goods and ready-made meals.

Manager Tara Williams checks shelves in the new...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Bingo's Market will reopen in Patten Towers next spring, offering healthy and affordable food to the residents of the building and those who live or work in downtown's Innovation District, officials said Tuesday.

Causeway, The Enterprise Center, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga cited the cooperation and support of the building's new owner, Elmington Property Management.

Originally opened in the fall 2017 as a pilot initiative, Bingo's showed early success but had to be temporarily closed for the past several months as the building underwent a change in ownership.

"During the pilot period, Bingo's became a valuable resource to those in Patten Towers and in the neighborhood," said Bill Rush, executive director for the J.A. Henry Community YMCA, in a statement. "We couldn't be happier about the market reopening."

Patten Towers, at Market and East 11th streets, was sold earlier this year to Nashville-based Elmington which announced plans for a $25 million renovation. The building will remain subsidized, low-income housing for the elderly and disabled.

"We were thrilled to see all of the community investment in this building," said John Shepard, vice president of Elmington. "We hope that the renovation of the ground floor will enhance the customer experience for Bingo's Market and improve the quality of life for the residents."

Bingo's Market is on target to reopen in March 2019, and Elmington has agreed to let the market use the space rent-free for three years. Bingo's will be owned and operated by the YMCA, with marketing, outreach, and planning support from Causeway and The Enterprise Center.

The market will continue to accept SNAP benefits, ensuring that the food is accessible for the low-income population who lives in the building. Additionally, anyone using SNAP will receive an additional 10 percent off, officials said. The collaborating organizations are brainstorming about more creative solutions to make the food even more affordable for the residents.

Causeway Executive Director Abby Garrison said that throughout the past several months of Bingo's closing, all the entities remained committed to reopening the market.

"Given sales history and excellent management by the YMCA, we know it can be a sustainable enterprise," she said.

The Patten Towers, erected in 1908 as an 11-story hotel, hasn't had a complete makeover since it became an affordable housing site in 1978. The city Tuesday granted the new owners a 25-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement to freeze city property taxes, other than the tax the portion used for local schools to help keep the apartments affordable and to make the needed upgrades.


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