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From the new $4.5 million headquarters of Vision Hospitality Corp., in downtown Chattanooga, Mitch Patel is building one of the South's fastest growing hotel businesses with 34 properties now open and another dozen under development across five states.

But just six blocks away from the new Chattanooga office building he erected to house his hotel chain, Patel says he is particularly excited about a new venture for his company. On the site a former dental office crews toppled this week, Patel plans to build his first independent, boutique hotel.

Near the south entrance to the signature Walnut Street Bridge -- the longest pedestrian bridge in the world -- Vision Hospitality is planning to begin construction in August of a 90-room, full-service hotel. Patel bought the 0.8-acre site late last year for $2.35 million -- "a fantastic location" in the eyes of Patel -- after the city agreed to rezone the site for the new hotel. Crews demolished the vacant three-story office complex on the site this week.

"We have pushed the envelope on what we do so if we're going to do our first boutique hotel we wanted to do it in our backyard," Patel said. "What we're doing here is truly unique. It is going to be an independent, high-end boutique hotel that tells the Chattanooga story. We don't have anything of this caliber now in Chattanooga."

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Site of planned boutique hotel near Chattanooga's Bluff View Art District.

Patel said other Southern markets like Charleston, Savannah and Asheville have such independent, boutique hotels "and I think Chattanooga's time has come for something like what we plan on offering."

Chattanooga has added or rebuilt nearly a dozen hotels downtown since the Tennessee Aquarium opened in 1992.

"The good news is there has been growing demand in Chattanooga's downtown hotel market over the past 20 years and that has helped create more demand for hotel rooms in our market," Patel said. "But what we're doing here is truly unique."

Patel said he hopes to announce more about the hotel this summer, but he said it will have a rooftop bar and a themed restaurant on the ground floor may include a spa.

"Having 90 rooms is small, but it is intentionally small because we want this to be intimate and unique," he said.

The hotel will be across the street from Museum Bluffs Parkview condominiums and a close walk from the Tennessee Aquarium and Hunter Museum of American Art.

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

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