But now, another first for the former train station. Its the future home of the largest apartment complex in downtown.
Popular music venue Track 29 is moving. The former maintenance barn has been major entertainment site for years…but if things go according to plan..it’ll soon be torn down to make room for luxury apartments.
ADAM KINSEY, PRESIDENT, THE CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO "By selling off the back 7 acres we feel like we can get ..recruit a multi-family developer who will spend up to 40 million dollars on a 400 to 500 unit apartment complex."
There’s a motel already on the back part of the 24 acre property. The apartments would be built nearby.
But some of the large parking area may be taken up with that multi-story complex. Where will the residents park?
ADAM KINSEY "We are fortunate enough to have a 600 car parking garage owned by CARTA at the Choo Choo..its also the hub of the free electric shuttle ..there’s also a ton of surface parking located around the Choo Choo.
Kinsey says the Centennial theater near the Carta barn will be remodeled for music shows.
City leaders say Kinsey’s plans fit right in. There’s a great need for downtown housing.
KIM WHITE, PRESIDENT, THE RIVER CITY COMPANY "Well, I think its fantastic. I think obviously people are drinking the same cool aide …they understand there’s so much demand for housing downtown."
The mayor says people want to be in downtown Chattanooga.
MAYOR ANDY BERKE, CHATTANOOGA "I think you’re seeing it all around..not just in one location but the Choo Choo is certainly a prime example."
Kinsey says the Choo Choo itself is developing space for new restaurants and a concert room, and its converting some of its space to apartments. That’s a 20-million dollar project.
Track 29 will stay where it is until the Centennial Theater renovation work is done in 2016.