It’s not been that long since I gave a business update, but so much is happening that I feel the need to note a few changes around town and mention developments that have emerged elsewhere. This will take at least two parts. I’ll leave until later to summarize recent reports about developments around the city.
|This announcement appeared on a window in the Daylight building.|
Today I’ll focus on a piece of breaking news: Reruns is moving from Market Square to the Daylight Building two blocks west on Union Avenue. Apparently the building is being sold, which could mean anything as far as rent and leases, so they are being proactive and finding a new home. The projected opening date is May 24 (I’m sure all members of the Urban Nation know this is Bob Dylan’s seventieth birthday – which clearly has to be the reason for that opening date 🙂
So what does this mean? This leaves two popular businesses in 2 Market Square: Coffee and Chocolate and Rala, each of which actually have Union Avenue addresses. Rala is a sister business to Reruns and has a two year lease which would have to be honored by a new owner. I’m not sure about Coffee and Chocolate. It could mean nothing at all for either business.
|Sidewalk Project moving slowly on Union Avenue, Knoxville|
Meanwhile outside their doors the sidewalk and street is still a disaster as they widen the sidewalks and replace drainage pipes beneath the street. I really thought there might be a big push to finish this project before the Dogwood Arts Festival, Rossini and the Farmer’s Market, but apparently not. It’s too bad for those businesses. Sometimes it seems the city could do more to plan for such disruptions.
|Union Avenue Books opening April 28, Daylight Building, Knoxville|
Meanwhile, on the other end of Union Avenue, at the Daylight building, this means that by May 24 the retail portion of the building will reach capacity about nine months after opening. The residential portion was filled immediately. Union Avenue Books is set to open April 28 and, by all signs, Just Ripe should open by that time, as well. Between Market Square and the Daylight lies the St. Oliver which is undergoing significant renovations and is also set to open soon.
Downtown Knoxville, for many visitors, is Market Square and a small stretch of Gay Street including Mast General and the Tennessee Theater. For downtown to continue growth and to become a true urban center, other sections of the city need to become destinations or at least vibrant centers of business and exchange for downtown residents. So far, the closest to that has been the 100 block of Gay Street and the Old City.
|Just Ripe getting closer – Daylight Building, Union Avenue|
Can the Daylight Building become the next point of reference when talking about downtown? Can Knoxville’s perception of itself grow with the businesses? Are we serious enough about having a vibrant downtown that we will venture out of our comfort zone? The future of these businesses and the city’s growth depends on the answers to these questions.