By Riley Holcraft, Staff Writer–
West Village has undergone extensive renovation over the past few years with hopes of evolving into a lively, family-friendly, must-see destination in Chattanooga. Boutiques, restaurants, coffeehouses, and more have been introduced with intentions of opening up the block to new opportunities and expanding Chattanooga city life.
DeFoor Brothers is a local development company responsible for the progress within West Village.
Their Social Media Manager, Lance Lauda, expressed his experience witnessing the transformation over time, “I am such a hyper-Chattanooga person,” stated Lauda, “and the work of DeFoor Brothers didn’t destroy it. They successfully developed and made the old new again. Definitely a fixer upper situation.”
Old buildings are being repurposed into unique staples in the Chattanooga community. The historical Tivoli theatre shows concerts, plays, comedy acts, and all types of entertainment for the public. The Westin Hotel is a historical landmark that has transformed into an elite lodging experience in the heart of the city.
West Village has abandoned its former run-down appearance through many similar renovations, and now possesses a fresh, West Coast feel without completely letting go of the Chattanooga charm.
Lauda is a former student at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and he remembers an unappealing West Village when he was in school ten years ago. Today’s West Village is an all-inclusive area that works to balance Chattanooga’s bright future and rich history.
It is located in the business district, so the environment is clean and professional, but absolutely accessible for families, students, and tourists alike.
“I feel like West Village is getting a really good footing,” explains Lauda, “in a sense that it would be a great environment for families as a whole.”
The West Village is working to create a safe environment where adults can feel comfortable bringing their children while simultaneously relaxing with a cold beer in hand. Events like Ale on 8th make this ideal into a reality. Every Thursday, the roads close down to make way for this experience.
This weekly celebration offers breweries, music, games, and plenty of chill vibes. The event is community-based and fundamentally changes every week. Some weeks offer urban work-outs on the concrete. Local gyms in the area show up to teach yoga classes, cycle bars, and other pop-up gym exercises.
Other weeks may feature trivia competitions, art pop-ups, or food vendors. A range of musicians also frequent the area, and live music is present almost every week. This event is free of admission fee and only a 20-minute walk from the UTC Campus.
Lauda suggests that the idea for this weekly street shut-down is to let the people take over the village and make it their own. Businesses, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to bring their creative vision alive in the streets of West Village.
Ideas from the community are always welcome, and Ale on 8th will remain an event that is for the people by the people.
West Village also hosts Holiday events; the most attended of these are: St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and New Years Eve. The Chattanooga Car Festival is an upcoming affair in which UTC students have the chance to volunteer and receive free tickets.
The area is still growing and working to achieve greatness for Chattanooga, and Lauda reveals the ultimate goal of The West Village of Chattanooga as, “creating connections with our people.”
News about upcoming happenings are posted on The West Village social media pages and www.westvillagechattanooga.com.