Staff photo by Doug Strickland / A permanent art installation, called City Thread, animates the revamped alley behind the Market City Center apartments in downtown Chattanooga.

History and location are behind the four possible names of downtown Chattanooga's newest public space that will debut Saturday with a block party.

A neglected alley off Seventh Street, behind the new Market City Center apartment building on the 700 block of Market Street, has received an extreme makeover and officials will reveal the name for the space.


Saturday at 4 p.m., the permanent alleyway installation off Seventh Street dubbed City Thread will become public. It will kick off a block party until 7 p.m.

The four finalists are:

» The 700 — the alley is between the 700 block of Market and the 700 block of Cherry Street.

» Cooper's Alley — the historic Cooper's Office Supply buildings front Cherry and back onto the alley.

» Kress Alley — the S. H. Kress & Co. department store was located at 706 Market St. from 1905-1954.

» Market Alley — the alley is near Market, downtown's most trafficked north-south street, and the name points to the site's accessibility through Market City Center.

Amy Donahue, director of marketing and communications for River City Co., said the alley-naming contest pulled in 775 votes. She said the winning name received 91 percent of the votes.

"It's really cool space," Donahue said. "We know folks will seek it out themselves."

Saturday at 4 p.m., the permanent alleyway installation built in the space, dubbed City Thread, will become public. It will kick off a block party until 7 p.m.

The "family-friendly event" is free and can be accessed from the 700 block of Cherry and from East Seventh and Market streets, according to River City, the nonprofit downtown redevelopment group.

Kim White, River City's president and chief executive officer, said that while she's excited about the block party, she's even more so over how workers, residents, businesses and visitors will use the space.

"And this program is a great example of community partners coming together to make a special place in our downtown for everyone," she said.

The effort to remake the alley was called Passageways 2.0. The original Passageways was launched in 2016 as an alleyway re-imagination program by River city and AIA Tennessee.

Four alleys were temporarily recreated with five high-end art and architectural installations.

The second round re-imagined the alley behind the $30 million Market City Center and its 125 apartments with help from River City, Tinker Ma, Public Art Chattanooga and the Benwood and Lyndhurst foundations.

City Thread was the winning concept, a permanent art piece in the 6,200-square-foot alley from SPORTS, the architecture and design collaborative of Molly Hunker and Greg Corso in Syracuse, N.Y.

The so-called art-as-urban-infrastructure installation offers a continuous sculpture through the alley. It allows for uses including lounging, sitting, mini-stages, markets, and movie screenings, according to River City.

The block party will offer music from local artists Spinster, Courtney Reid and DJ duo WARSAW. The Pop-Up Project will have a dance performance at 5 p.m. and there will be food trucks, beer tents and other vendors. Also, there will be free food samples from the soon-to-open Bantam and Biddy restaurant and giveaways from London Calling – a new speakeasy-style bar on Cherry.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.