There is space for public events in the Edney Innovation Center. (Photo: Contributed)

Renovations on the Edney Innovation Center are moving forward, and improvements should be visible by spring.

A new entryway is in the works on the Market Street side of the building, and there are also plans for sidewalk improvements there.

The entry will lead visitors into a 2,000-square-foot space that will likely be a public gathering place, said Kelly Fitzgerald, who is overseeing work on the building and is also thefounder of co-working space Society of Work, which currently takes up one floor of the building.

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“We are looking at several different things [for that space] and have some people helping to program [what will go there] and see what the best use is,” she said.

She said there will probably be some sort of small food service there, but nothing that competes with area restaurants. The idea is to provide some amenities for people in the building and a place for members of the public to meet and gather. It could also be a location for events such as poetry workshops, she said.

The changes to the Market Street entrance also include larger windows to help create a more modern look,Fitzgerald said.

The total investment in the building renovations is about $5.5 million.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening on each floor of the building:

  • Floor 1: The Company Lab and new Market Street entrance (spring)
  • Floor 2: Available for lease
  • Floor 3: Available for lease
  • Floor 4: Six-month leases available
  • Floor 5: Community floor
  • Floor 6: Society of Work
  • Floor 7: Another floor for Society of Work with 18 more offices (spring)
  • Floor 8: Three-year leases available, currently under construction
  • Floor 9: Occupied by Roman Healthcare Group, Crash Creative, Jensen Hughes, Nirav Patel, Carbon Five and Utiliflex
  • Floor 10: Under construction

The eighth floor is a multitenant floor for three-year leases. About 60 percent of that floor is leased.

Floor 10 will be the penthouse and partially available for three-year leases.

Throughout the building, cost for small office space with six-month leases starts at $525 a month via Society of Work. For longer-term leases of larger spaces, the cost is dependent on both the terms and size, she said.

While upgrades are in the works, there have been some challenges with the building, bothFitzgerald and tenant James Cowan of startup Docity said.

Cowan, who said he’s been 100 percent satisfied with Society of Work, recently noted problems with the building such as the entrance on 11th Street, the elevator, power issues and a lack of communication about what’s going on with the building. He said he’s heard that some startups have decided to go elsewhere or not renew leases because of the issues.

Fitzgerald agreed that there have been some issues but said leaders have worked to find solutions and will continue to do so.

“This whole building is an experiment,” she said. “There’s nothing like it in Chattanooga and nothing like it in the region … We are finally in a place where we are pushing forward … We are in a really good place now.”

The building is decades old, but the “bones” of it are solid, she also said.

“We are fortunate to be in such a good shell,” she said. “With the lobby and entry improvements, you’ll see a big change.”

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