Saturday, April 19, 2014 · 5:27 a.m.

About a year after coming under new management, there are changes in the works at downtown hotel the Sheraton Read House, including the possibility of a new restaurant there. 

"The future looks really good for the Read House," General Manager Jen Prpich said. "We struggled through the recession. We have a lot more business on the books next year."

Hospitality Ventures Management Group, a privately owned hotel ownership and management firm based in Atlanta, took over management of the hotel last February. 

Prpich came on as new general manager last March, and she recently outlined the changes happening at the historical hotel. 

The new team is looking into adding another restaurant that's more casual than the current restaurant there, Porter's Steakhouse. 

The steakhouse is frequented mostly by Chattanooga residents, and the new restaurant might draw a different crowd. The team is having meetings with prospects, she said. 

"I think we will get more traffic from guests if we have a more casual option," Prpich said. 

One of the hotel's meeting rooms would likely be renovated to accommodate the new restaurant, she said. The planning process is preliminary, but she estimated the more casual eatery might be open by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. 

A jeweler recently had its soft opening in the Read House's retail space. The new shop offers jewelry brokering services to help customers find something specific they might be looking for, and the store also has high-end pieces, such as products from Tiffany's, she also said.

The Starbucks inside the hotel is getting its first makeover since it opened about 10 years ago, she said. New furniture, carpet and equipment are part of that revamp. 

And wealth management firm Lawson Winchester recently expanded its space in the hotel. 

The courtyard on the Chestnut Street side is getting updated with new planters and a waterfall. 

The hotel's 10-year agreement with Sheraton is up next year, and leaders are looking to renew that deal, Prpich said. 

There is a new museum inside the hotel that highlights history related to the Read House, and Porter's has gotten some leadership enhancements recently. 

"We brought in some very experienced food and beverage folks to lead the team," she said. 

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