The remake of a century-old building in downtown Chattanooga into the future home of a rapidly growing logistics company will signal a change to a key gateway into the center city, an official said Thursday.

The high-profile, largely windowless John Ross Building at Broad and Fourth streets will house Steam Logistics when a $7 million makeover is finished late this year and turns the structure into a showplace for the city, said Todd Kimling, a project manager for Noon Development.

“The building had been vacant for so long and been an eyesore,” he said during a tour of the site that’s undergoing the refurbishing. “This will bring it back to life.”

Cutouts in the concrete block exterior are already showing up to hold an array of massive picture windows in the 4-story, 60,000-square-foot building that was raised around 1920 to service a then-downtown auto dealership.

An interior ramp to take the autos from the ground floor to the second level still is inside the building, but it will be jack-hammered away to make room for Steam employees, Kimling said.

“Partnering with Steam is very important to our company,” he said.

Jason Provonsha, Steam’s chief executive, said in an earlier interview in the Noon Development offices that he liked the city’s plans to renew the riverfront area downtown from Fourth Street to the Tennessee River, a footprint that includes the company’s new headquarters.

Steam is creating 400 jobs in the expansion into the historic building downtown by the logistics company founded in 2012. Read more here