New York-based Life House Hotels is to take on the management of Chattanooga’s historic Choo Choo hotel and roll out the biggest revamp of its bedrooms since the business first opened in 1972.
The Silicon Valley-backed hotel company is to manage and transform the 132-bedroom hotel, bringing its expertise in pricing, booking and staffing to the business.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo and Terminal Station is owned by an investment group led by Jon Kinsey, former Chattanooga Mayor, which took over the property in 1989.
It was developed nearly a half century ago from the former Southern Railway passenger station on Chattanooga’s Southside.
The revamp will begin this fall.
“The final piece of redevelopment for the property is the hotel, and we had to make sure our efforts aligned with the numerous tenants that we have curated, the walkable and active Southside neighborhood and the desires of current and future guests,” said Adam Kinsey, president of the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
“We have given a lot of thought on the right partner and as we discovered, met with and saw first-hand what Life House has been able to produce in such a quick timeline since their launch, we knew we had found the right folks to bring a new boutique hotel experience to Chattanooga.”
Life House Hotels was started in 2017 and manages 13 other boutique hotels across the country. The company has since attracted investment from travel-tech investors, Thayer Ventures, with participation from Tiger Global, JLL Spark, and Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, among others.
Bryan Dunn, head of growth for Life House, said the Choo Choo will be its first property in the Southeast outside of the five boutique hotels it operates in Miami and will be the biggest property for the company to manage so far.
“We’re in the boutique, independent hotel part of the market and we’re not running cookie-cutter hotel brands,” Dunn said. “All of our hotels are unique and you feel like you are experiencing something local within the different neighborhoods where we operate.”