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Miller Welborn

About Lamp Post

Lamp Post Group is a venture incubator that provides capital and mentorship to growing start-up businesses. It offers a full complement of support services, including legal, accounting, human resources, recruiting, and downtown office space.

 

 

Lamp Post Group's buying spree in downtown Chattanooga is ongoing with the venture incubator acquiring a pair of century-old buildings on Cherry Street.

In its third acquisition within a three-block area in the central city in about a year, Lamp Post bought the brick structures which for over 75 years were part of Cooper's Office Supply in the 700 block of Cherry.

Lamp Post paid $750,000 for the three-story buildings at 715 and 717 Cherry, according to the Hamilton County Register of Deeds.

Miller Welborn, a Lamp Post partner, said the buildings could become mixed-use space with retail on the ground floor and loft apartments, or they could be used for offices.

"We believe in that area of downtown," he said.

Lamp Post, headquartered nearby at the Lovemans building at Market and Eighth streets, purchased One Central Plaza at Georgia Avenue and Cherry Street for $3.5 million about a year ago.

In March, Lamp Post bought a 92 percent interest in the Yesterday's building at Georgia Avenue and Patten Parkway. The acquisition price wasn't revealed in that structure, but Lamp Post is undertaking a multimillion-dollar renovation to remake it into apartments. It will be renamed the Tomorrow Building and is to hold budding entrepreneurs and innovators.

Charlie Cooper, who with brother, George, was a partner in Cooper's Office Supply, said the two Cherry Street buildings equal about 22,000 square feet. Cooper's Office Supply merged with COS Business Supply & Interiors about five years ago and that made the Cherry buildings available.

While nostalgic about the years he spent in the buildings, Cooper said he's excited about what's happening on Cherry.

"The place will look like a million bucks," he said. Cooper said another building at 719 Cherry was sold earlier this year to architect Craig Peavy.

Locally based Fidelity Trust Co. has bought a nearby three-story, 20,000-square-foot building at Cherry and Seventh that once served as the corporate headquarters for the Krystal fast-food restaurant chain. Fidelity is refurbishing the space for a trio of technology companies in a $2.7 million project.

Welborn said Lamp Post is "a small player in reshaping downtown."

"We knew [the Cherry Street buildings] were good properties and in a good area," he said.

Welborn said the buildings sit within the city's Innovation District, an initiative by Mayor Andy Berke that aims to bring companies together in a dense area.

"We believe the more we can be a part of it, the better we are," Welborn said. "We feel the Innovation District will be a huge plus for Chattanooga."

Directly behind the Cherry Street structures, work is starting on a 10-story tower, the tallest building slated for downtown in at least two decades.

Set to hold 125 apartments along with retail and office space, that $28 million structure is proposed for a long-vacant site on the 700 block of Market by Atlanta-based The Simpson Organization.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

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