This web-exclusive article accompanied Renewed Interest by Cheryl-Anne
Sturken (M&C, February 2009), about value destinations.
Once considered one the country's most polluted cities, a result of
its metals manufacturing industry, Chattanooga, Tenn., has since become
a poster child for eco-friendly destinations amid more than $2 billion
and two decades of downtown development. The city recently took the
number-three spot on RelocateAmerica's top 100 places to live.
part of Chattanooga's massive $120 million Waterfront Redevelopment
project, which included a $30 million expansion of the Tennessee
Aquarium and a $20 million expansion of the Hunter Museum of Art, more
than 22 miles of once inaccessible riverfront have been reclaimed for
public use, and a fleet of electric shuttle buses runs between downtown
hotels, restaurants and attractions. This also is a very walkable and
cycle-friendly city, with pedestrian-only bridges, trails, and
passageways connecting the city to the riverfront and 28 miles of bike
Central to the city's downtown revitalization was the
$50,000 expansion and greening of the Chattanooga Convention Center --
the facility uses natural light, fresh-air ventilation and a rooftop
system that collects rainwater for irrigation -- which increased total
exhibit space to 100,800 square feet.
Other projects abound.
Construction is under way on BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's new
$300 million headquarters and on the state's first LEED-certified,
mixed-use development. Last July, German automaker Volkswagen, citing
Chattanooga's commitment to the environment, announced it had chosen
the city as the place to build its new $1 billion assembly plant, which
it expects to be fully operational by 2011.
Chattanooga also is
in the midst of a lodging boom, with six new hotels poised to open by
year-end 2010, including a 120-room Hotel Indigo, a 134-room Hampton
Inn and a 109-suite Residence Inn with 5,000 square feet of meeting
space. In addition, the new 186-room Doubletree Hotel Chattanooga
opened last November with 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
Contact: Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 322-3344; chattanoogafun.com