Exciting new – and different – Kind of Business coming to Downtown

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

We need a name for the area just beyond the Old City all around Depot from Central to Gay, out each to Broadway. There is much happening in that area that I find myself writing about it on a routine basis these days. The Southern Railway Station, this week, purchases in the area recently, a new theater emerging, the development of the Old Knoxville High School, the Regas Purchase finalized this week, the White Lily project nearing its finish. That’s a lot going on.

I have to remember when I complain about how centered everyone is on Market Square and the immediate section beside it on Gay Street that we are slowly – and sometimes painfully – spreading out. It may be a while before anyone from outside downtown and our ring neighborhoods to the north realize it, but other pieces of the puzzle really are coming together.

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

It turns out that the new residents of the White Lily Building will be able to maintain a serious level of fitness without walking too far. The McNutt-Burks building at 309 N. Central Street, owned by David Dewhirst and most recently used as storage, will be converted into Rocky Top Crossfit by the owners of the Charlotte, North Carolina gym South Charlotte Crossfit.

The rehab of the building has been undertaken by Dewhirst Properties. Daniel Odle of Conversion Properties worked with them to broker a deal with the new client. It’s a nice example of complimentary companies working together downtown.  I hope to have an interview with owner Jeremy McDonnell in this space, soon.

The Crossfit concept, as I understand it, involves using multiple training methods in short bursts. Their introductory session, for example, promises a fifteen to twenty minute run through of the program, but they guarantee it will be enough. I got tired just looking at the pictures. The program is rigorous and is used to train special op forces (Jeremy was in a special unit in the military), police forces and others but, according to their website, they use the same program for “elderly individuals with heart disease as for cage fighters one month out from a televised fight.” The difference is in the scale of the workouts.

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

Jeremy’s name may be familiar to those of you whose blood runs deep orange – and I mean deeper than the football program. He swam for UT and for the US Swim team. With that background in swimming, one of his specialties is water training. With his UT background, this becomes a sort of homecoming venture for him.

With the addition of this new business a half block from the new residences at the White Lily Building as well as other new residences in other buildings nearby, the new activity at the Southern Railway Station and Depot, the purchase of the Regas Building and the prospect of something interesting on the nearby corner of Central and Magnolia recently purchased by Jeffry Nash and the area has significant momentum going into the new year.

The McNutt-Burks Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

The McNutt-Burks Building viewed from the White Lily Building, Central Street, Knoxville, December 2013

Comments

  1. Bonny Pendleton says:

    The board of Theatre Knoxville Downtown is especially excited with the purchase of the Regas building and plans for its revitalization. We are located right across the street from the Regas building and have missed traffic in that area bringing new faces to our theater.
    We’ve are in the middle of our 8th season in our location at 319 N. Gay Street and still are unknown to 99% of Knoxville. Hopefully, the growth of the Old City in our direction will change that.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      You guys do have a little jewel downtown and I’m hopeful, as well, that you’ll be helped out by the changes. A lot, it seems to me, is riding on what happens to the Regas property. I’d love to see the building used in a way that draws foot traffic, but I’d also love to see at least some of that parking lot turn into something better.

  2. The area you’re talking about, at least the north part, is called Emory Place. That’s the triangle bounded by Broadway, Central, and 5th. It doesn’t really encompass the area south of 5th. Hmmm…maybe we could borrow from the Fourth and Gill naming convention and called it “Fifth and Depot.”

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      The “Fifth and Depot area sounds good, to me. You are right, though, I don’t think we could stretch to call it Emory Place.

  3. Paulk & Co., along with many of our associates, call it “the wrong side of the tracks.”

    We are totally stoked about the growth coming our way and have been working with the City & our neighbors to clean up the area. Things are moving along nicely. 2014 looks to be a great year!

  4. Any news on who purchased Regas and their intentions for use?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      The buyers have chosen not to be identified at this time, nor have they made their intentions known. I’m not sure how long that can last (I’m accepting tips!). The news item indicated that part of their motivation may have been that others wanting the property intended to demolish the building, which suggests that isn’t what they want. I’d love to see it turn back into a hotel and I’d love to see some in-fill construction in the parking lot – which also used to be a hotel.

  5. Nice to see something other than a restaurant coming to the area.

    5th & Depot. I like it!

  6. KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

    I got another suggestion from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous: Fifth and Deep. What do you think?

  7. Bonny Pendleton says:

    I think Fifth and Deep says something special about the area. Sentinel had a short article about the new Regas owners. They say another restaurant may be in their plans in addition to offices. The new owners’ name is Regas LLC.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      Interesting. I guess it could have a “deeper” meaning. It sounds pretty hip, to me, and also, as this person pointed out, it “has some symmetry with “Fourth and Gill.”

  8. Arthur Benjamin Carmichael III says:

    A few names to throw in the ring:

    Trackside
    Depot District
    The ATT (“A”cross “T”he “T”racks)
    The UTF (“U”nder “T”he “F”reeway)
    Old Magnolia
    Jubeoc (“Ju”st “Be”yond “O”ld “C”ity)

  9. Chester Kilgore says:

    I like “The Depot District” very much. It sums up the major historical use of the area as well as denotes it’s location. I’m not a fan of naming entire areas for street intersections, it gives direction, but no soul.

  10. We are new to Knoxville, and we love all this info. Thanks!

  11. I believe part of this area was known as “Irishtown” due to the very poor Irish living here who worked for the railroad. –Steve

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