The biggest of a bunch of planned boutique hotels in downtown Chattanooga appears back on track.
The job of reworking the former Chattanooga Bank Building into a 159-room Aloft Hotel has gone out for bid, according to local architectural firm Hefferlin + Kronenberg.
› Vision Hospitality is building a 90-room boutique hotel known as The Edwin near the Walnut Street Bridge.
› At Market and King streets, a four-story, 102-room Moxy Hotel is under construction by 3H Group.
› The 300 apartment building at Pine and Sixth streets is to become a 117-room Hotel Indigo.
› The Clemons Lofts apartments at Eighth and Chestnut streets is to hold from 80 to 100 boutique hotel rooms.
› A developer has announced plans for the former St. George Hotel to become a 55-room boutique hotel.
Project manager Nick Messerlian said three construction companies recently were invited to bid to remake the 91-year-old vacant building at Broad and Eighth streets into the boutique hotel.
"We're going to get bids in July," he said. "We'll look them over, pick a winner and move forward from there."
Work could start late this year with an opening in early 2020, Messerlian said.
The 10-story bank building was constructed to house Chattanooga Savings Bank in 1927 and modified when that business was absorbed by First National Bank.
After the bank closed, the building housed dental, medical, Tennessee Valley Authority and other offices for many years. Tenants were asked to leave in 2009 when another developer proposed a Crown Plaza hotel and condo project, but that project never got off the ground.
A Virginia-based developer, AMCA LP, in 2014 announced the group was financing the hotel with the help of a federal initiative set up about 25 years ago called the Immigrant Investor Program, or EB-5. The program allows foreigners to invest money and create jobs in the United States in exchange for green cards allowing them to become permanent residents.
Work was to start in 2015, but nothing happened.
Messerlian said part of the most recent delay was due to the purchase of Starwood Hotels, which formerly owned the Aloft brand, by Marriott.
"It has a new set of standards," he said. "They wanted to make it a little bit different. This redesign is an updated Marriott version of an Aloft."
Kim White, who heads the downtown redevelopment nonprofit River City Co., said she's amazed at all the interest in the central city by hotels.
"We're starting to get a different demographics to our city," White said. "Instead of a family friendly regional location, it's a place for foodies and people who want to explore the outdoors and people who want more high-end experiences."
Messerlian projected the Aloft Hotel could cost in the high $20 million range.
Plans are for the hotel, which would stretch from Broad to Market streets, to offer 24-hour valet parking since there are no spaces for vehicles on the site, he said.
Messerlian said the owner is looking at using parking garages within a block or two to handle guest vehicles.
The new Westin hotel at M.L. King Boulevard and Pine Street also uses valet parking for guests.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.