U.S. Senate candidate Bob Corker announced Thursday that he is selling many of his business holdings to fellow Chattanooga businessman Henry Luken.
Corker Group officials announced the closing of the deal which transferred ownership of the company’s management company and a majority of its holdings to the local multi-millionaire.
The sale includes the Tallan, James and Krystal buildings downtown as well as the Franklin, Uptain and 10 other commercial buildings near Eastgate Town Center. It includes the Osborne Shopping Center and five other commercial buildings in East Ridge.
The value of Mr. Luken’s acquisition represents between 70% and 80% of Mr. Corker’s real estate holdings, it was stated.
The name of the company will become Luken Holdings and its office will be housed in the James Building.
The transaction which will close the James Building purchase is expected to be completed by Mr. Luken’s company in the next 10 days.
Mr. Corker will maintain ownership of the Corker Development Corporation, which has been rooted here since 1978, and will retain assets including the Volunteer Building at Georgia and MLK and the first shopping center he ever developed located in Maryville.
The agreement marks one of the largest real estate transactions in Chattanooga’s history. With the addition of the 1.8 million in square footage, it brings the regional assets of Luken Holdings to more than 2 million square feet.
Included in the sale are the assets of the Stone Fort Land Company, founded in 1886 (includes the Tallan and Krystal Buildings), the properties that comprise the Osborne Building Corporation, founded in 1936, and the James Building, built in 1907, in downtown Chattanooga.
Mr. Corker, founder of the Corker Group, said, “For the sake of our employees, our tenants and our city, I am conveying these holdings to someone who can focus on expanding these enterprises into the future. I will greatly miss working with Kim White and our outstanding employees and will also miss the day-to-day relationships we have with so many wonderful companies and tenants.”
The 16 Corker employees will keep their jobs, and Ms. White will continue to run the operation.
In addition to this acquisition, Mr. Luken has equity investments in such companies as Covista Communications, Inc., a telecommunication services provider headquartered in Chattanooga; America’s Collectibles Network, Inc., doing business as Jewelry Television, headquartered in Knoxville; Equity Broadcasting Corporation, headquartered in Little Rock, Ark.; and Christensen Shipyards, Ltd., headquartered in Vancouver, Wash.
Mr. Corker praised Mr. Luken’s business successes adding, “Having people like Henry Luken involved and invested in our region adds great excitement, energy and vitality. I am delighted that someone of his caliber is so involved in the Chattanooga business community and know that these companies and our city will benefit.”
Mr. Luken already has several real estate holdings in Chattanooga, including the Maclellan Building, Montlake Golf Course and surrounding development, and the K-Mart property on Highway 58, which includes the Covista customer service center.
All of the Corker Group employees will be retained by Mr. Luken and they will continue to manage the properties under the Luken Holdings name. The day to day management functions of the properties retained by the Corker Development Corporation will be handled by Luken Holdings.
Mr. Luken said, “I am thrilled with this purchase and excited about working with our team to continue growing the business. I have complete confidence in the tremendous management group in place, and with the leadership of Kim White, believe that the company’s brightest days lie ahead.”