Seems like everywhere I go on the Southside, I see one of two things: new buildings being built and old businesses leaving. This week I already eulogized Heaven & Ale Southside and Cotton and Twine Boutique. But I felt I should take a moment and post a brief requiem for Area 61, an exclusive local art gallery that had made it’s home on the Southside for nearly a decade.
I only moved to Southside last autumn. By then, Area 61 had already vacated it’s prime Main Street storefront for the untamed frontier of the “West Village,” the alluring new moniker for the few blocks connecting the public library and the large public parking garage near the highway entrance. According to SocMe, they’ve faced some construction delays in renovating the Clemons Building. That’s unfortunate, but sadly, all too common.
It’s somewhat disheartening to see such an exodus along one of Chattanooga’s hottest and hippest commercial corridors. And it’s confusing, because as we all know, we’re about to experience a major influx of hundreds of new luxury condos just around the corner. I suppose these growing pains are inevitable as the Southside sheds its skin and remakes itself anew once again. It’s just a shame that we’re left with so many empty old buildings even as new ones continue to crop up daily.