CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo and Terminal Station is getting a contextual makeover with the help of local owners in partnership with Life House—a hotel brand specialized in reimagining historic hotels. The existing 132-room hotel, which was originally a Hilton, and its collection of luxury Pullman Train Cars will be fully transformed into a local hospitality experience that is rooted in its history as the first public transportation route connecting the north to the south. Life House will immediately take over operations of the hotel leveraging its white-label management solution, with a comprehensive renovation slated for Fall 2020 and a full relaunch anticipated by Spring 2021.
Over the last four years, the Chattanooga Choo Choo has seen a pivot to a multi-faceted property with two music venues and a museum holding the world’s largest private guitar collection, Songbirds; The Comedy Catch comedy club; restaurants including STIR, Nashville-based Frothy Monkey, and Nic and Norman’s, which is slated to open later this year and is the creation of Greg Nicotero and Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead. The property has also added Gate 11 Distillery, Chattanooga Jewelry Company, Echelon Fitness Studio, American Draft Beer Bar, Run Away Train Escape Experience, the Coin-Op arcade, Play Wash Pint, more than 500 residential units, and Station Street, the third open-container street in Tennessee.
“The final piece of redevelopment for the property is the hotel, and we had to make sure our efforts aligned with the numerous tenants that we have curated, the walkable and active Southside neighborhood, and the desires of current and future guests,” said Adam Kinsey, Chattanooga Choo Choo president. “We have given a lot of thought on the right partner and as we discovered, met with, and saw first-hand what Life House has been able to produce in such a quick timeline since their launch, we knew we had found the right folks to bring a new boutique hotel experience to Chattanooga.”
Life House was founded in 2017 by luxury boutique hotel veterans and has rebuilt the complex hotel tech stack from the ground up to create a completely new operational model that allows them to deliver lifestyle boutique hotels at a fraction of the price to travelers. The company recently announced its Series B led by top travel-tech investors, Thayer Ventures, with participation from Tiger Global, JLL Spark, and Ashton Kutcher & Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, among others.
“We’re really excited to be a part of transforming this property with deeply rooted local partners. We believe firmly in responding to every neighborhood we enter, and we’re eager to contribute to the ongoing growth of the Southside Historic District through a locally-contextual transformation of the existing property into a four-star boutique hotel,” said Bryan Dunn, head of growth at Life House.
Life House continues to expand its portfolio supporting owners of and prospective investors in small and large hotels throughout the Southeast. The company expects it will have over 10 hotels throughout the region by year-end 2021.