Chattanooga’s Flatiron Building returns to residential roots under new owner

One of the oldest office buildings in downtown Chattanooga, originally built in 1911 as an apartment complex, returns to its residential roots under the management of a new owner.

The Flatiron Building at 707 Georgia Ave. was sold last week to a group of Chattanooga investors who plan to spend $ 6 million to purchase and convert the historic four-story building into residential condominiums built on top of upgraded first-floor offices. Known as Flatiron Heights, the 27,884-foot structure will feature three floors of luxury condos renovated to add new balconies that will capture the downtown views offered from the top floors of the triangular building.

“We were drawn to the Flatiron Building by its great history and location, and with these upgrades, we believe these condos will be truly unique to Chattanooga,” Robert Fisher, Commercial Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams and Investment Group Partner who bought the Flatiron building.

The developers plan to build around fifteen condos, although they are flexible depending on the size and type of units future residents can choose from.

“When the Flatiron Building was originally built in 1911, it was an apartment building of about 30 units, and although we are changing the size of these units and making some improvements, we are keeping the ‘historic appearance and the brick exterior,’ said Bo Ferger, another project partner. “Downtown Chattanooga really attracts people who want to live in the downtown area and the Flatiron certainly has a great location and a historic feel. It also has amazing views from the upper floors to the Cameron Hill area. . “

The first floor of the Flatiron Building along Georgia Avenue and Walnut Avenue will also be upgraded to accommodate offices. The new owners of the building, located across from the Hamilton County Courthouse, hope the renovated offices will prove attractive to legal and other professional offices.

The renovations are expected to take around 10 months. The new owners hope to sell and occupy condos in early 2023.

Investors in the project include Chattanooga businessmen Bo Ferger and Dan Levan, as well as Fisher, who collectively own Fisher Bay LLC. Additionally, Modus Build owner Clint Dean is a project partner and contractor for the planned renovation. The construction project is also supported by other limited partners, Fisher said.

The Flatiron Heights Building, named after a similar triangular-shaped building in New York City, has been owned by TE Properties Inc. in Chattanooga for 29 years. David Kent, president of TE Properties, said his company wanted to focus on other properties. “I did not have the time to devote to this building to maintain it and to go and find the tenants to keep it occupied,” he said.

Almost half of the tenants who once occupied the building have moved out or are expected to move out of the structure soon as it is marketed and redeveloped, he said. The building had around 20 office tenants when it was full.

“We were fortunate to have a building that was pretty full most of the time we owned it,” Kent said.

The original building belonged to Sam Read, who also built the Read House hotel in the city center. The structure was then converted for office tenants.

Fisher said there is currently more demand for residential properties than for offices in downtown Chattanooga.

“Overall, the office market is contracting where the residential market is growing,” Fisher said. “We will be advising many of these tenants that in four months we plan to start the demolition work.”

A year ago, the Flatiron Deli closed its doors after operating for over 12 years along Walnut Street in a storefront on the ground floor. Deli owner Jeni Brown blamed the closure on the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic as one of at least half a dozen restaurants in and around downtown that have closed in the past two years.

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.

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