The Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel, apartment and entertainment venue has a new top boss.
Principal owners Frank Fowler and Jon Kinsey have named Kinsey's son, Adam, president of the Choo Choo's parent company, Choo Choo Partners LP.
Jim Bambrey Jr. will continue in his role as general manager of the hotel portion of the property.
New President Adam Kinsey has been involved with the Choo Choo for years, and is largely the force behind the introduction of its current music venue, Track 29.
In fact, he is behind many of the newer additions at the historic property, Fowler said.
"He's been very instrumental in everything that's going on down there, which is quite a renaissance," Fowler said.
Fowler said Adam has worked at the Choo Choo since he performed night auditor duties out of high school.
And in the midst of the current, nearly $8 million revamp going on at the historic Southside property, Fowler said Adam has approached Jon and himself several times with ideas about how to freshen up the property and better connect it to the community.
As the younger Kinsey transitions into the president position, the Choo Choo is adding a seafood restaurant, a cocktail and craft beer lounge, the Comedy Catch and another music venue.
Property owners are also turning 97 existing hotel rooms into small, downtown apartments.
Adam Kinsey calls it the Choo Choo's "third incarnation" — following the attraction's initial opening as a train terminal in 1909 and its later restoration into a hotel in 1973.
"When this current renovation is complete," he said, "a brand-new Choo Choo will emerge — much more connected and much more relevant to downtown Chattanooga."
Adam Kinsey is absorbing many of the responsibilities his father, Jon, has handled as part-owner.
Fowler said Jon has been "the go-to guy" for years.
But the two principals have seen enough of Adam throughout the renovation — in his ideas, observations and willingness to tackle jobs — to feel confident giving him the job of leading the company.
"He just seemed like the right person at the right time," said Fowler. "He's very bright."
Adam Kinsey believes by turning the Choo Choo out toward the street and neighborhood, versus its current inward stance, the entertainment venue, hotel and apartment complex can become a strong Southside figure again.
"Now the storefronts will open back out onto the street and invite people to come onto the property," he said.
But not lost on him, or the Choo Choo's ownership, is the increasing number of Millennials who call Chattanooga home.
"In addition to the families that Chattanooga is now attracting, the Chattanooga Choo Choo will have tremendous appeal to the Millennials Chattanooga wants, and needs," said Kinsey.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6480.