Looking Toward Tomorrow (with a nod to Yesterday)

At the corner of Patten Parkway and Georgia Avenue, in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, sits a building with curved balconies, hand-painted signage, and 19th century architecture. With a history that is intertwined with that of our City, this important building has been given a new name, a refreshed look, and a new role to play in the next chapter of Chattanooga’s story.

The latest chapter in this long history began in 2014, when the building - formerly known as the Ross Hotel or the Yesterday’s Building - was declared a potential housing opportunity in River City Company’s City Center Plan. With support from the Benwood Foundation, River City Company purchased the building, in hopes of bringing housing to an underutilized district of downtown.

Though it had been vacant for nearly 10 years, there was a long period of time when the Yesterday’s Building was a Downtown Chattanooga destination. Built in 1888, it was home to restaurants, a nightclub, the Delmonico Hotel, the Ross Hotel, Midtown Music Hall, and most famously- Yesterday’s, which became the second ever liquor-by-the-drink bar in Chattanooga and the place for people to come together after a hard day's work, and enjoy the city they called home - at a time when there weren’t many other places Downtown that were open after hours.


 


ross hotel.jpg

By the time River City purchased the building in 2014, it was in rough shape. After nearly ten years of sitting completely vacant, the age of the building was showing. It could’ve been knocked down to a pile of wood and bricks, and a new structure more easily built in its place. But instead, River City Company partnered with Lamp Post Properties, a real estate company founded through the start up incubator Lamp Post Group, for the redevelopment of the building. Lamp Post leadership understood the importance of keeping this piece of history alive, and chose to preserve and restore as much of the original building as possible. They named it the Tomorrow Building, with a nod to the past and an eye toward the future. With it’s location at the juncture of four key City districts (ML King, UTC, City Center and the Innovation District) all witnessing their own revitalization, the Tomorrow Building is poised to be a key driver in the continued growth and development of Downtown Chattanooga.

Just a few weeks ago, the Tomorrow Building reopened as a co-living space with 39 micro-apartments - small loft-style rooms with bathrooms - centered around four shared working and living spaces. The building will also feature a restaurant and retail space at the street-level entrance.

This style of communal living is somewhat of an experiment for Chattanooga, but Lamp Post leaders believe that it has the potential to meet a demand from the growing number of young entrepreneurs flocking to our City. They saw the crucial need for housing in this key area and believe that the Tomorrow Building will bring more people, more investment, and more energy to the area like never before. It is also hoped that the communal-style of living will not only help attract young entrepreneurial talent, but will also help to retain them by creating stronger connections to the community.

Imagine you’re an entrepreneur that recently moved to the great new city of Chattanooga. You’re not sure how to meet people, you don’t know what restaurants to go to, and you have that ever uncomfortable “newbie” feeling as you accidentally stumble upon places like the grocery store.

You decide to sign a short-term lease at the Tomorrow Building to get acclimated. You move into your fully furnished abode and head down to the communal kitchen to fire up a frozen pizza. You meet some of your new neighbors (fellow entrepreneurs) and you strike up a conversation.

You learn about Society of Work, Improv Chattanooga, Nightfall, and the Flying Squirrel. You begin to learn your way around town, claim your favorite restaurants and watering holes, and you start to form a circle of friends.

You wake up and greet familiar faces in the elevator, and then later meet new neighbors in the shared living room. Your newbie feeling wore off fast, and Chattanooga starts to feel like home.

One of the biggest hopes for the Tomorrow Building is that it will help people feel included, encouraged, inspired, and empowered by one another and the city - and that, ultimately, these leaders, professionals, creatives, entrepreneurs will see a way to build community, feel at home, and fall in love with our incredible city.

With this new use and new animating factors in play, the Tomorrow Building will once again serve as an anchor and catalyst for community connection and development in the heart of our city - which, when you think about, is a role that this building may have been born to play.

 

“They saw the crucial need for housing in this key area and believe that the Tomorrow Building will bring more people, more investment, and more energy to the area like never before. ”