KyBrA Athletics is Open on Broadway

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

A new gym, KyBrA Athletics opened recently at 804 N. Broadway, about three blocks north of Central Street. It’s a strength and conditioning gym operated by husband and wife team David and Sue Finney. David’s from Nashville and Sue is from Cleveland, but they met in Fayettville, W.V. while he attended Virginia Tech and she worked as a river guide. After he traveled all over the world kayaking, the two settled in together and after nine years of marriage have three children, ages two, four and seven. After a spell of living in New Mexico, they moved east to be near family and near the mountains.

David’s degree is in Business Writing and Communication and he works full time for 21st Century Mortgage in sales and marketing. Sue has an MA in Education and worked for seven years in a classroom for emotionally disturbed children. After the birth of their third child, she felt working full time would be difficult. She left her teaching career, but felt a pull back to athletics. Both of them had focused for years on various sports. In her case, she was a triathlete, pole vaulter and mountain biker.

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

In an effort to stay active and stay connected to sport, she began working as a personal trainer and quickly understood that her teaching background helped with the new pursuit in understanding what it takes to communicate with and inspire others to do their best. He’d also taught kayakers and triathletes and they are both certified through Gym Jones. It became increasingly obvious to them they should start a gym.

So far, everything about their operation is low-key. They haven’t advertised, but rather focused on making sure everyone who comes to them improves and meets their goals. Their philosophy is like the Gym Jones statement: “Gym Jones is not a cozy place. There are no televisions, no machines, no comfortable places to sit – and there are no mirrors.” With the exception of one mirror I spotted, this perfectly describes what you’ll find at KyBrA (the name comes from a combination of their children’s names). David said they want to spend their money on things that help people get into better shape, not objects to make a pretty space.

The place is bare-bones and industrial. It reminds me of a cross-fit gym, in some respects, but they are not cross-fit. Sue described it as being more like the athletic gym you worked out in while in high school or college. In their approach to personal coaching or in group instruction classes, the emphasis is on pushing and encouraging each other. They want to engender well-rounded fitness, not simply strength.

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

The couple said there will be changes, though the essence of the place will remain the same – helping people find excellence at what they do. They have plans to double their space by taking the adjacent portion of the building. They’ll also gain room for upstairs offices, allowing all the floor space to be devoted to workouts. The building owner, Greg Love, also plans to apply for a facade grant to refurbish the exterior.

They explained that the “athletics” in the name of the business doesn’t necessarily describe who they train, but how they train, though they do count former Division I athletes among their clients. The intent is to help individuals become strong, not only in body, but in mind and attitude, challenging them to work harder. Sue said the approach, if embraced, is life-changing. For this reason, they focus on all aspects of health, including diet.

Sue will be the manager and leads the classes offered, which include foundation, strength and conditioning. The classes are not sport specific and sometimes include people who have never exercised before. Prices for the classes depend on the client’s participation level. There are no contracts and a two-week free trial for classes is offered. Personal training ranges from $50 to $75 per session and virtual and sport-specific options are available. You’ll find all those details on their webpage.

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

So far, a large percentage of the clientele has been people who are into outdoor sports. The morning I arrived for the interview, Sue had just returned from a bike ride with an early morning endurance group who had ridden up Sharp’s Ridge. (Not easy, FYI, according to Sue). The clientele has also leaned toward people who enjoy a specific demanding sport on the weekends, but want to stay in shape through the week so they can have fun at their sport on weekends.

October was their first full month of operation and David said they’ve been surprised at how quickly it has grown, simply by word-of-mouth. They began build-out with no clients, but their first one walked in and signed up while they were completing work on gym. He’s still with them, as are all the clients who have started. They will expand sooner than they could have imagined and the 4,000 square feet of work out space will be quickly put to good use.

David and Sue Finney, KyBrA Gym, 804 N. Broadway, Knoxville, January 2017

They hope they are promoting and building a support family for fitness. If someone doesn’t show up for  a workout, for example, they get a text. They will do everything possible to help people succeed. Sue said, “It’s for everyone, but it’s hard for everyone.”

You can contact them through the Facebook Page or website. Drop in and check it out, try their free classes or, drop in for Friday Happy Hour. At 5:45 on Friday afternoons a free class is offered and it attracted twenty people last week. The group usually takes the party from there to another spot to continue socializing. And building the fitness family.

A First Look at Designs for The Residences at Pryor Brown

Preliminary Design Drawings of The Residences at Pryor Brown, Church and Market Street, Knoxville, January 2017

Preliminary designs have been released for the Pryor Brown Garage as it shifts to The Residences at Pryor Brown. Things can change, so take these for what they are, but they are likely a close representation of the finished product we’ll see at the end of the project. The architect of record is Faris Eid of DIA and the drawings and renderings here are the property of DIA.

Along the Church Avenue, or northern, side of the building, the retail space will be kept, as had been previously stated. I don’t have square footage numbers, but from the appearance of the diagram would indicate four-to-five small spaces, which would be very helpful to downtown retail. Larger spaces, with their commensurate cost are often prohibitive to independent business owners. That side will also include the present garage entrance with a new garage door and sidewalk canopies will be added to the retail spaces. Windows will mimic the historic windows, but they will be modern and energy efficient.

Pryor Brown Garage, Market and Church, Knoxville, June 2016

Preliminary Design Drawings of The Residences at Pryor Brown, Church and Market Street, Knoxville, January 2017

Along the Market Street, or western, side of the building there will only be two entrances: a lobby entrance into the residential portion of the building and another garage entrance where the current garage entrance is located. I’d hoped to see a couple of retail spaces along this side of the building, as well, but from the diagram, it would appear the space for these was used for four parking spaces. I can only assume they were essential to provide all the residents a space, but it’s unfortunate that it couldn’t be worked out.

The south and east sides currently face the parking lot that fills the remainder of the block, so those sides will get less external attention along the bottom floor, but the second through fourth floors of the four-story building will have covered balconies for each unit. As with the other sides, the brick facade will be retained, repaired and restored following Dept. of Interior guidelines.

Probably the biggest surprise in the plans is the inclusion of a one-story rooftop addition. Recessed from the roof, each penthouse unit will have a private rooftop patio which will be partially covered by an extended roof. The setback on each side will minimize the visibility of the structure from the street below.

Preliminary Design Drawings of The Residences at Pryor Brown, Church and Market Street, Knoxville, January 2017

Preliminary Design Drawings of The Residences at Pryor Brown, Church and Market Street, Knoxville, January 2017

Current signage will be removed from the building and new signage is still in design. Light fixtures around the building will be replaced with fixtures mimicking the era of the building’s construction. The drawings also show trees remaining along Market Street and just past the corners of the building leading to the parking lot. They contribute to the attractiveness of Market Street, one of the prettiest streets downtown.

The biggest news in the proposal, however, isn’t visible in the drawings: According to Rick Dover, the units will not be apartments as originally planned, but rather will be sold as condos. He said it was dictated by the market and that the return from leases would not be enough to cover the expense related to restoring and re-purposing the building. Condos will be marketed in coming months.

Preliminary Design Drawings of The Residences at Pryor Brown, Church and Market Street, Knoxville, January 2017

The plans aren’t final, but they are likely close. The only point of discussion appears to be the direction a door swings on Market Street – inward or outward onto the sidewalk. Expect to see movement on the building in the coming months.

Finally today, an update on the Rhythm n Blooms giveaway and another giveaway for those of you who have paid attention all the way to the bottom of the page. Mitchell Beason informed me he would be unable to use the tickets and so, another random number generation later, the tickets are now headed toward Inside of Knoxville reader, Brianna Crumpton. Congratulations, Brianna.

This weekend promises to be a busy one downtown, and one of the major events is the Great Smoky Mountains Outdoor Expo at the Knoxville Coliseum. Tickets are $12, but I’ll help you out. I have five pairs of tickets I’ll give to the first five people who email me at and use the subject heading, “Great Smoky Mountains Outdoor Expo.” (Ed. Note @ 8:30 AM: The tickets are gone. I will notify winners.)

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A Momentous Week in Knoxville and Across the Nation

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