In recent years, the Southside has drawn a number of business additions—a major music venue, an “uncommon” hostel, restaurants, an urban winery—and Craftworks Restaurants and Breweries’ move to Main Street has been a catalyst for growth there.
“Craftworks actually might be the tipping point of Main Street,” Kim White, president and CEO of downtown economic development organization River City Company, said. “It seems like it’s getting so much momentum. We’ve been working on Main Street for a long time. Getting those employees there and getting that density, really, I think, has been the tipping point.”
In October 2011, leaders announced that Craftworks, The Lupton Company and Kinsey, Probasco, Hays offices would move into the offices at 201 W. Main St.
Now, employees with Craftworks and The Lupton Company are in the building.
Developer Kinsey, Probasco, Hays and Milner Milling, which is a privately owned flour milling company, will soon move into the 107-year-old building, Adam Kinsey, one of the developers, said.
“Anytime you can take an old building with old brick walls and old heavy timbers and bring it back to life—it’s just really fun,” Kinsey said. “You can’t create that type of character.”
Craftworks leaders couldn’t be reached Friday, but according to Nooga.com archives, the company will bring more than 100 employees to the space.
The Lupton Company and KPH bring about 20 employees to the new building, Kinsey said last year, according to Nooga.com archives.
Chocolate shop The Hot Chocolatier and art studio Townsend Atelier are currently leasing space there.
Building owners are honoring leases, which last about a year and a half more, with those businesses, Kinsey said.
The 7,000-square-foot space will eventually be used for a restaurant, he also said.
“We think it’s a terrific location for a restaurant, especially with that covered loading dock on Main Street,” which would make a great patio area, Kinsey said.
To see how the Southside has evolved, garnering more community support and drawing in more businesses, leaders point to the annual Mainx24 block party.
This year’s event brought out the largest number of participants in the six years since its inception.
When the 24-hour party started, there were 22 events on the list. This year, there were more than 100.
And there are more businesses planned for the Southside, he said.
At this year’s Mainx24, leaders broke ground on Center for Integrative Medicine, which will go at the site of the former Discoteca bar.
Leaders are still waiting to see what will happen to the former YMCA building.
Last year, leaders said that the 31,000-square-foot building, which dates back to the 1920s, was going to be transformed into a hostel.
Now, that project seems to be on hold, but Kinsey said that there is interest in the space.
And leaders with Chattanooga Whiskey Company hope to eventually locate their distillery on the Southside, if state leaders approve liquor production for the area.
Developer John Wise will soon start work on a $4.5 million mixed-use development on the Southside near Finley Stadium. There will be apartments and a restaurant. Chattanooga Brewing Company will also be there, Kinsey said.
Another Southside apartment complex, Mission on Main, seems to be on hold for now, White said.
“It’s not under contract anymore,” she said. “It’s been stalled. We do want to go back to the drawing board because there does seem to be a lot of momentum.”
And part of that Southside push is thanks to Craftworks, she said.
The way the Southside is filling in is what leaders hope to replicate in other areas of downtown, White said.
“Craftworks could be anywhere in the country, and they chose to be here,” she said. “They could be anywhere in the city, and they chose to be [on the Southside.] How lucky for us and our city.”
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.