Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Business Update, Day Two

Today's information comes from a multitude of sources. My favorite business blog is Josh Flory's Property Scope and much of what I'll mention in this post came from that site. There has been a great deal of movement so far this year in downtown businesses. Yesterday I mentioned that Reruns is moving to the Daylight Building where it will soon open (May 24) as will Union Avenue Books (April 28) and Just Ripe.
New outdoor seating at Blue Coast Burrito, Market Square, Knoxville
One business update I can give you is that Blue Coast Burrito has just added a great deck to their north side. It had to be built up slightly from the sidewalk to make it level and when the weather is good, if this weekend is any indication, it will be packed.

Interior View of 36 Market Square demolition/renovation/reconstruction, April 2011

Interior view of 36 Market Square, April 2011
Across the square at 36 Market Square, I've come to a greater appreciation of the task at hand. To someone with my limited (read: total ignorance) knowledge of such matters, it seemed that 37 Market Square would have been the more difficult project of the two in that all they had to work with was a facade. I've changed my mind.
Interior view of 36 Market Square, April 2011

Rare open view from the front of 36 Market Square, April 2011
As the pictures reveal, a stunning amount of work has to be done inside the 36 Market Square structure while not bringing the building down and not having much room to operate. I'm still waiting on the developer to contact me for a tour (he's reading this :-)), but so far he doesn't seem so inclined. I'm excited about what might happen on that corner. I just hope I live long enough to see it come to fruition.

Here are other tidbits which have recently happened or are in the process of happening:
  • General Store in the Fidelity Building is temporarily closed, causing a gap in retail offerings downtown for both residents and workers. The building is owned by the by the H.T. Hackney Company, a food wholesaler. As first reported here last fall, the group has been considering the possibility of expanding General Store into a small store with a light grocery selection. They have the contacts, we have the need, now we just need a better name than "General Store." Really.
  • Regions Bank is moving across Union Avenue to the old Miller's Building. This raises several questions in my little mind: Why did the bank cross the street? (Leave your answers in the comment section.) What happens to the ugly time/temperature atrocity, which they promised to fix, on the roof? Who will occupy that large (ugly) building?
  • I can't see much progress on the Lunch Box move to Market Street, but it isn't very visible from the street, so who knows? Do the Sprouses read the blog and would you like to comment?
  • It appears less likely there will be a beauty school in the Arnstein Building as the group promoting the idea has purchased property elsewhere. It's completely clear if the other property is in place of or in addition to their plans for the Arnstein Building which seems like one of the best spots downtown and a property waiting to take off in the right hands.
  • Not to worry, beauty school fans, the same article just cited also suggests that a beauty school is still planned for the old Kress Building.
  • There is no signal that Tennessee Shines will emerge from its hiatus.
  • Sundown in the City is back in its scaled-down incarnation. That link will give you the entire schedule of five concerts starting next week (April 21- Randy Houser) and happening sporadically through June 16 (probably the most exciting to me: Warren Haynes with opening act the Black Cadillacs). This news is great or terrible to downtown residents and businesses depending on one's perspective - and many people have a strong one. For me it's good news. Being able to walk to Sundown concerts was a big draw for me to move downtown. I love it in all its sloppy, ugly beauty.
  • Work is moving forward steadily at the corner of Jackson and Gay on residences and retail space.
  • Improvements to Jackson Avenue Office/Retail space on the block just east of Central are very impressive and the space appears ready or near ready for lease.
So there you go. Now you are up to date on all the big business news I've caught lately. Now you see why I read Property Scope. It's not just about downtown, but often that's where I learn about business developments downtown. You might want to check it out. In the meantime, hang on for the ride. 2011 is off to a fast start for downtown development. Also, if you come across a tidbit you think the Urban Nation might like to know, pass it to me at KnoxvilleUrbanGuy@gmail.com.

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At April 12, 2011 at 11:37 AM , Blogger Andrea said...

Personally I like the name "General Store". It's fun and simple. Reminds me of the "good old days" I guess.

Glad to hear the beauty school isn't going into the Arnstein. I wish they would put apartments or condos in that building because I would absolutely love to live there.

At April 12, 2011 at 3:00 PM , Blogger tthurman said...

I too like the simplicity of "General Store", and agree that it would be cool if somebody would finally address the lack of groceries downtown. I would think they would be successful, especially with the Henley Street Bridge closure as people would adapt to it being here more quickly.

I happened to have a need to visit the old Regions location a year or so ago. I was actually surprised that the inside was pretty nice. I agree it could use some work, and I've hoped for years they would fix the time/temp light. Maybe somebody will turn it into apartments!

Sundown in the city is pretty cool, but unfortunately it brings out the worst in some people. Since it has started we have experienced increased graffiti on places like our building, the doors etc. and we are not alone. Additionally, we have people who toss trash everywhere, including parts of our cooling infrastructure. People will party anywhere! These are just some of my main gripes with it, but it's really just the bad apples that ruin things.

At April 12, 2011 at 4:58 PM , Blogger Sproles said...

The Sproles' and the Lunchbox have completed their move from the First Tennessee Plaza to the Bank East building one block south of Market Square.

At April 12, 2011 at 6:51 PM , Blogger Sproles said...

Free chicken salad recipe from the Lunchbox!!!


At April 12, 2011 at 7:29 PM , Anonymous Knoxville Urban Guy said...

ve been slow wading into the comments today, so I'll address the several above at once. I don't really care for the name "General Store" for several reasons. First, it didn't say "The General Store," so it was more a lable of an item than the name of a store. Sort of like calling your child "boychild." It's accurate, but is it a name?

I could live with Gay Street General Store or Downtown General Store or even Bob's General Store, if you want to keep the old-fashioned feel, but there is a problem with this. When you say "General Store" in the same sentence with downtown, the immediate popular thought is "Mast General Store," and I think it's great that Mast has become such a marker for people thinking of the city. So, those are my two cents on that.

As for the Regions Building, it's the outside that I think is ugly. It may just be my bias in favor of older buildings, but I just don't like the architecture. I bet it remains office space, but who knows? I think I'm going to organize a vigilante group to climb to the top with hammers and knock that clock to the street.

Sundown is Sundown there are a million divergent opinions and I hold a bunch of them, myself. I'm sorry to hear about the trashing of your place.

Welcome Lunchbox! Post the hours. I work out of town, but I'd love to try it if you are open after work or on weekends. And I certainly never expected free chicken salad recipes to be posted on my blog. That's the best perk I've ever gotten from this gig.

At April 13, 2011 at 7:53 PM , Anonymous Downtown Dweller said...

I'm ready with my hammer to "beat the clock". Just post time and place to meet for our covert action... Of course, it would be easier if the time was flashing in giant numbers on top of a building ;)

At April 13, 2011 at 8:29 PM , Anonymous Knoxville Urban Guy said...

Aw, man. I was just about to post a time and date for our covert action when I realized that if I published that information the action would no longer be "covert." So, here's the plan. Everyone who's interested, start carrying your hammer with you whenever you go out downtown. The first time several of us happen to pass each other and notice the hammers, well, you can guess the rest.

At April 15, 2011 at 6:09 PM , Anonymous Downtown Dweller said...

I like it... very spontaneous yet organized


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