As individuals have discovered Avocet Hospitality Group will renovate the Read House, they’ve mailed mementos from the lodge’s golden age to Avocet proprietor Jon Weitz.
“I have matchbooks from the 1930s,” Weitz stated.
That outpouring from Chattanooga—the concern from the group that the renovation be correct down to the particulars—”gets our juices flowing,” he additionally stated.
By March 2018, Avocet Hospitality Group expects to end work on the Read House—the lodge that sits at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broad Street—updating the lodge by bringing its aesthetics again to the roaring ’20s.
ForrestPerkins’ notable tasks embrace Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel and The Jefferson in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, lots of their different tasks have turn out to be woven into the material of Chattanooga—the renovation of Loveman’s on Market and the Majestic 12 on Broad, for instance.
By the time the Read House’s multi-million-dollar renovation is completed, the foyer and public areas could have a sense harking back to the basic novel “The Great Gatsby” and the rooms can be modernized, Weitz stated.
But maybe most significantly, the Read House might be free to inform its story.
“For us to be involved, there has to be a story about it,” he stated.
The Read House story
Not solely is it on the National Register of Historical Places, native lore says Al Capone as soon as stayed in the constructing and that certainly one of its rooms, 311, is haunted.
According to its software for nationwide historic registry standing, filed in 1976, the Read House stood reverse Union Station and took an preliminary $2.5 million to construct.
It opened its doorways for the first time July four, 1926.
It survived many different inns that have been being demolished as motorists sought lodging with modern designs.
Yet via that point, the Read House remained a gathering place for vacationers and native Chattanoogans alike.
And the Read House was the location many Chattanoogans made reminiscences, consuming Sunday dinner and studying how to use a eating knife, at the lodge’s unique restaurant, the Green Room.
“Everybody and their grandma went there,” Weitz stated of the Green Room.
A boutique lodge with historic preservation
While the lodge is beneath development, guests will nonetheless have the ability to keep at the Read House.
When the foyer is beneath development, friends might have to come and undergo a aspect door.
But Weitz stated he’s not looking for to appeal to clients with thicker wallets.
“We’re not building a luxury hotel; we’re renovating a historical hotel,” Weitz stated.
After conducting demographic analysis, Avocet Hospitality concluded, “Almost every demographic has an affinity for historical hotels,” Weitz stated.
In different phrases, the Read House with its historic vibe will value about as a lot per night time as the chain lodge down the road.
And as a boutique lodge, it enters the present debate in the hospitality world between branded and boutique resorts.
The Read House used to be related to Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. Now that it’s a boutique lodge, it could merely stand as the Read House.
And journey web sites like TripAdvisor are recreation changers to the business, Weitz stated.
While many vacationers nonetheless belief the consistency of big-box resorts and their recognized manufacturers, the web has additionally drawn vacationers to boutique resorts looking for a singular expertise after studying the worth level is roughly the similar.
And creating the lodge—a singular lodge—is enjoyable, too.
“We try to have a lot of fun doing it; we think it makes business sense,” Weitz stated.
Focusing on historic lodges
After a stint in finance and one other in regulation, Weitz began Avocet Hospitality in 2006.
“We are really about finding unique assets that have unique stories that the community can connect to,” Weitz stated.
Avocet Hospitality, based mostly in Charleston, South Carolina, focuses on creating historic resorts.
Its headquarters sits subsequent to The Vendue, an artwork lodge it developed in Charleston’s French Quarter and that was just lately named considered one of the prime artwork resorts in the nation by Travel Pulse.
“We looked at cities outside Charleston and we came upon Chattanooga and the Read House,” Weitz stated.
Daniel Jackson is a contributing author.