City may sell Chattanoogan hotel

City may sell Chattanoogan hotel

City board will vote on hiring consultant to evaluate offers

July 5th, 2016 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

An entrance to the Chattanoogan hotel visible shortly after city officials announced their intention to seek a sale of the 15-year-old conference facility.

Photo by Dave Flessner /Times Free Press.

City officials are seeking to sell the Chattanoogan hotel, seen here from an interior courtyard.

City officials are seeking to sell the Chattanoogan...

Photo by Dave Flessner /Times Free Press.

Fifteen years after the city of Chattanooga began building the Chattanoogan conference facility as one of the city's top hotels, the municipally-owned hotel may soon be put up for sale.

The city panel that helps operate the 199-room hotel and conference room for the city is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a resolution to approve the sale of the Chattanoogan hotel. The Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp. board will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall to consider a resolution to begin the process of hiring a consultant to assist the city in evaluating sale proposals for the downtown facility.

The city has previously considered selling the Chattanoogan but has not before ever put out a request for proposal to engage a consultant to market or evaluate proposals.

The Chattanoogan initially suffered some operating losses after it first opened to guests. But it has been profitable in recent years as business has grown and the city has restructured the debt it issued in 2001 to build the Chattanoogan, the Chattanooga Design Center and the expansion of the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The Chattanoogan, located at Broad and 12th Street, is managed for the city by Benchmark Hospitality Inc., which a city notice indicates may be merging with another company.

Tom Cupo, general manager for the Chattanoogan since 2008, said the conference center is coming off of two record breaking years, the profits of which go to the city.

"We manage properties for private and public owners and we do what is in the best interest of our owners," Cupo said.

Cupo said the Chattanoogan has been successful in attracting business conferences and group events, especially from Atlanta.

The Chattanoogan includes 199 hotel rooms, three restaurants and 25 meeting rooms, which feature 25,000 square feet of exhibit space. The hotel is the only lodging facility in Chattanooga certified by the International Association of Conference Centers.

Any sale of the Chattanoogan could generate funds for other city capital projects or to pay down city debt.

This story was modified to remove a incorrect date that referenced when the hotel first opened.