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The former Wachovia building in downtown Rossville has been purchased by the CEO of a technology company who opened a "technology incubator" in Chattanooga in 2006.

Rossville officials said the four-story, 61,942-square-foot building was sold last week to Charles Whitener, of Lookout Mountain. Officials were tight-lipped about the purchase, explaining that Whitener plans a news conference in two weeks.

"He's investing in the city of Rossville, and it's going to be a great day in the city," said Ron Wade, chairman of the Rossville Downtown Development Authority.

The bank building on U.S. Highway 27 was owned by Wells Fargo after it merged with Wachovia. According to real estate listings, the tan brick building sits on 2.60 acres of land.

Real estate listings put the price between $990,000 and $1.2 million, but Wade said he did not know the selling price. Wade said he couldn't comment on the building's future, but he said it would not be a bank.

Whitener could not be reached for comment Friday. Wade and downtown development authority Executive Director Bobby McNabb said the new owner had asked that details not be discussed until a formal announcement was prepared.

In October 2006, Whitener, CEO of electronics component-maker Westrex Corp., announced a $12.4 million plan to redevelop the former Combustion Engineering administration building at Riverfront Parkway and Main Street in Chattanooga.

Wade would not say if Whitener had purchased the bank as an individual or under the Westrex name. Westrex supplies high-end audio components for the general consumer and professionals. The company exports about 80 percent of its products to Europe and Asia but also has contracts domestically with the Department of Defense.

At the time the Westrex building opened in Chattanooga, Whitener told the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce he planned to use half of it for Westrex's research and development and the other half as "an incubator space for either startup or emerging technology firms."

McNabb said Whitener's interest is another sign of good things coming to Rossville.

"We've got to forge forward," he said.

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