The historic Chattanooga Choo Choo is adding clubs and restaurants in a $7 million renovation, it was announced in front of the South Market Street landmark on Monday morning.
The Comedy Catch will be moving from its longtime home in Brainerd and there will be a new 500-person music venue that will be in addition to Track 29. The new venue, managed by Track 29, will feature a mix of country, Southern rock, Indie and world-class bluegrass.
The new section will also include SAM's All American Sports Bar and Grill and the Blue Fish Oyster Bar.
Owner Jon Kinsey also said, "We will bring the building back to its early historical form, showcasing the original architectural elements." He said the building will be restored to its original floor plan and feature a more open look.
The former mayor said some of the new facilities will be located on 14th Street and some will have entrances on South Market.
Mr. Kinsey said, "This is truly going to be the entertainment center for this city."
He said SAM's has been the top sports bar in Nashville for 13 years.
SAM's and Blue Fish will be on the right side of the Choo Choo front. The Comedy Catch and the new venue will be along 14th.
The women's restroom will be moved by the men's restroom.
The front desk will move across the lobby.
Mr. Kinsey said another $1 million will be spent renovating rooms in the Choo Choo's Building 1.
He said the Choo Choo is the city's largest hotel with 363 rooms and has a payroll of $4.5 million per year. He said it receives some 700,000 visitors.
Construction is set to start Friday and be ready by next spring.
Mr. Kinsey said additional retail space will be available, and he said "more announcements are coming."
Band played prior to press conference