Historic Read House Associates, LLC, a subsidiary of Avocet Hospitality Group (AHG), on Wednesday announced the acquisition of The Read House in downtown Chattanooga. The seller, Read House Investors, LP, has owned the property since 1994 and entered a sale agreement with AHG in May. Hodges Ward Elliott represented and advised the seller in the transaction.
The 242-room hotel, located at 827 Broad St., was built in 1926 and is the third hotel to join AHG’s growing portfolio. This acquisition is consistent with the company’s aptitude in restoring and repositioning hotel properties, including Tides Folly Beach and The Vendue in downtown Charleston. SC., officials said.
“We have a passion for historic hotels and restoring them to their former greatness. Our goal will be to restore The Read House to its original 1926 splendor. We believe Chattanooga deserves a hotel that is completely dedicated to the history of the city,” said Jon Weitz, president and CEO of Avocet Hospitality Group.
AHG is currently in the process of selecting local architects and contractors to be a part of the team that will assist with repositioning the hotel. The preliminary budget for the renovation is between $18 million to $20 million. AHG hopes to start the renovation within the next year and intends to keep portions of the hotel open and operational during the process.
“In the end, all 242 guestrooms will be completely renovated with updated technology, completely new bathrooms, and all new furnishings. We will work with local historians and architects to do our best to recreate a modern version of the hotel’s original grandeur in the public spaces, ballroom, and restaurant. Think Great Gatsby,” said Mr. Weitz.
Mr. Weitz was involved in the renovation of another highly acclaimed property in Tennessee, The Hermitage hotel in Nashville. From 2000-2003, he oversaw the rebirth and repositioning of The Hermitage. Prior to the renovation, the hotel had fallen on hard times, been through several bankruptcies, and did not have a great reputation in town, he said. The Hermitage is now Tennessee’s only AAA Five-Diamond hotel and considered one of the best hotels in the Southeast.
Bob Doak, president and chief executive officer of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, “We’re excited that Avocet Hospitality is making an incredible investment in our city by revitalizing one of our great historic properties in the heart of downtown. This is a perfect example of how we are continuing to build on the assets we have and maintaining that shine we have worked so hard to build. The latest tourism statistics show that visitors spent more than $1 billion dollars in Hamilton County which supports 8,500 full-time jobs in the tourism industry.”
AHG will continue to share news and renovation updates with the local community, industry experts and media through the renovation process and beyond, it was stated.