Three More Businesses Set to Close on Market Square

Latitude 35, 16 Market Square, Knoxville, December 2014

Latitude 35, 16 Market Square, Knoxville, December 2014

It’s the kind of headline I would not have imagined at this point in downtown’s redevelopment. Even yesterday when I wrote about business changes, they all seemed more or less for the better and simply a common pattern of re-alignment. Then comments started mounting about one restaurant and another, so I followed up. And the comments were pretty spot on.

I’ve actually been able to confirm very little beyond the fact that these businesses are closing. I may have updates even as the day goes on and I’ll try to post to the FB page and twitter if I learn more. It’s rare since I’ve been doing this that I get much in the way of “no comment,” but I got a good dose of it yesterday.

I’ll start with Latitude 35. It is definitely closing – Sunday will be their last day of business. The why part is a bit less clear. I spoke to several people, including a shift manager and several others around the square who said they are losing their liquor license. I also had one person tell me the new grease interceptor KUB is requiring is a problem for them. This is a theme among the restaurants on the square and off. The new grease interceptors are extremely expensive and most of the restaurants don’t own the building they inhabit, so it puts them in a position of spending tens of thousands of dollars for an improvement to a building they do not own.

I couldn’t confirm the above because when I called Gary Higgins, the manager, he didn’t answer, but rather texted me saying that I should email Jimmy Buckner, which I did. He didn’t respond in time for this article, but perhaps I’ll hear from him and update this portion a bit later.

Orange Leaf, 36 Market Square, Knoxville, December 2014

Orange Leaf, 36 Market Square, Knoxville, December 2014

Orange Leaf is also closing, but I know even less about this one. I was able to confirm they are closed as of last Sunday night. Additionally, all Knoxville locations of the chain closed, so I’m assuming the closure had nothing to do with downtown specifically. The building owner at 36 Market Square confirmed this much and I should be able to talk with him on the phone today to gather more information. Depending on what I learn there, I will update this article or write another if there is enough information to warrant that.

Finally, after ten years on Market Square, Shonos in City will likely soon close. I talked to owner Willy Rosenberg and his son Josh. They confirmed the pending closure, though the business is for sale should someone be interested. Willy has health issues to which he needs to attend and he mentioned the pending requirement of the new grease interceptor which will cost him nearly $20,000. He’s having a hard time justifying the expense this close to retirement age. He’d love to sell to an interested buyer and he would have liked to continue the business, but the combination of pressures seems insurmountable.

Shonos in City, 5 Market Sqaure, Knoxville, December 2014

Shonos in City, 5 Market Sqaure, Knoxville, December 2014

Taken individually, these might not seem too significant. For my part, I didn’t make it to Latitude 35 very often. Orange Leaf was a chain that in some ways seemed like an oddity downtown. We have Nama for sushi. To counter some of that, however, Orange Leaf seemed popular from its arrival and I know I was there far more often than I ever imagined – particularly for a certain five-year-old. And I really liked Shonos’ food and low prices – especially for lunch – and any business that’s been around for ten years and remodeled just last year is a shame to lose.

Of course, there’s also the momentum impact. To remove four (counting Steamboat) restaurants from one square all at once is a blow. How quickly we can replace them will be telling as to whether this is a glitch along the way or a sign that we have some trouble brewing.

I talked to several other business owners on the square about the grease interceptors and it is a major issue for several of them. Robert McClain told me they are making plans to add the interceptor at Blue Coast. B.G. DeHart at Stock and Barrel said they cannot justify the $30,000 – $40,000 it would cost them, so they have to wash all their dishes by hand (not having a dishwasher is a work-around for the grease interceptor). It’s a very big problem and a large additional cost for small businesses.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in buying Shonos in City, please have them call Willy at (865)544-5800. He’s likely closing just after the new year if he doesn’t find a buyer.

Updates:

Jimmy Buckner from Latitude 35 contacted me to say the following, “We are rebranding and there are many moving parts . . . We could have kept everything quiet, but it was more important to communicate with our employees so they can better plan for their immediate future.  We have a great staff and respect each person and their families.”

Ken Mills owner of 36 Market Square confirmed that Orange Leaf has vacated and that it was sudden. A quick search around the internet shows that there are problems brewing in the business.  For us, the bonus is that a prime spot on the square is now available. He’s already had some interest expressed and if you are interested, please contact Josh Mills at (865)850-3825.

 

Comments

  1. Art Carmichael says:

    Michael is right. The CBID should look into addressing this. Grease interceptors (which are in addition to, and altogether different from, grease traps) are essentially building improvement, much like a refurbished facade so, it might make sense for the CBID to offer grease interceptor grants much in the same way they offer facade grants.

    Also, I’m pretty sure, ‘all Knoxville Orange Leaf franchises closed not just the Downtown location.

    Has anybody attempted to get comments from Patricia Robledo, Rick Emmett, Bill Lyons or Madeline Rogero? I bet, if the City raised a little fuss (especially with some public support from citizens and business owners), KUB would be a little more open to finding alternate solutions. Maybe common grease interceptors or smaller, above-ground units that aren’t so expensive to install. It seems unfair for KUB to place the cost of retrofitting these grease interceptors entirely on these businesses when it would have been a much easier expense to deal with had KUB informed the business owners of the requirements when they were in buildout instead of years later. The sudden rush to compliance seems odd and unfair, as well.

    It does make me suspicious that they’re only accepting one company’s grease interceptor. That just seems a little too beneficial to one company. It might be interesting to check KUB’s board meeting minutes and/or visitor logs to see if they’ve had any recent visits from representatives of that company.

    Though this rule has been on the books for 10 years KUB has, apparently, neglected to tell anybody about it until now. And suddenly they want everybody to comply lickety-split. That seems odd as well. Could KUB be facing some looming compliance issues that they failed to deal with until now? Is this just a way of pushing the cost of their own negligence onto their customers?

    This may also be KUB attempting to make it easier on themselves by creating a one-size-fits-all solution for a complex group of situations. Having only one type of grease interceptor to inspect across your entire customer base makes it easier to train your inspectors. Never mind that simplistic solutions rarely work in complex environments.

    Great post Urban Guy and great discussion! Let’s hope it doesn’t end here.

    • Nancy Voith says:

      All excellent points, Art. Let’s hope the City, KUB and CBID make it a point to work together in the new year to make an environmentally approved and cost-effective solution available.

      • Sounds like we need more clarification on what type of grease collector that KUB/EPA? is requiring. I’ve heard both terms: interceptor and trap used in media reports.
        I have left a message with Andrea May, KUB’s communications coordinator to get an official statement for the City People newsletter. Expect to hear from her soon. Feel free to forward any questions, Alan and Urban Guy.

        And, I agree that it’s time we also heard from the city about this issue. The sudden enforcement seems odd to me, since KUB is also in the midst of a major (costly) downtown utility upgrade (which could take two years to complete) and they may also still be recovering from expensive repairs for last spring’s major water main break, one of the city’s largest in decades. Have these projects possibly cost more than what was anticipated or budgeted?

        • Art Carmichael says:

          Dee, I’m pretty sure the issue is grease interceptors. I’m pretty sure all restaurants in Knoxville already have grease traps.

  2. While some anti-downtowner partisans (obvious from their comments above) may be using these closing occurrences to advance their own agenda, the doom-and-gloom is totally misplaced. First, the Orange Leaf and Latitude35 closings had nothing to do with grease traps, KUB, or any other physical issue. Orange Leaf had internal business issues and it has been reported that Latitude35 lost their liquor license from allegedly serving underage patrons. I will leave a discussion of Shonos to others.

    In putting these closings in perspective, one would do well to remember back 10 years and compare downtown then…to downtown NOW. Businesses have come and gone, but the net result continues to be a positive upward one. Business success in one raises the bar for others; mediocre businesses (even popular ones) feel the pressure from those with more to offer. In this, the customer who is interested in quality generally comes out ahead. Opportunity rears its head. The restaurant business, not just in Knoxville, is not one for the faint of heart.

    Despite temporary bad news and an issue to discuss, downtown Knoxville still moves forward and upward. The sidewalks remain just as packed; the businesses are just as busy.

  3. I used to work at orange leaf. They are closed because they were writing bad checks. Truck shipment checks would bounce rent checks would bounce and employees paychecks would bounce. The franchise owner lives in another country and only wants to make money. Does not care what the workers think. This company was doomed from day one.

  4. Carolyn – the Goslyn is NOT approved. They said it hasn’t been “tested” enough.

  5. Carolyn Greenwood says:

    Has anyone asked KUB whether an aboveground solution like a Goslyn unit would be an acceptable alternative? I have no personal stake in this but I work at an engineering firm doing environmental permitting for a large retail client and they are putting these units in many locations. I don’t know the cost but when considering installation and maintenance they must have been determined to be cost-effective.

  6. Chris Hauck says:

    KnoxvilleurbanGuy, thank you for REPORTING the news that impacts residents of our Scruffy City. Reporting is, unfortunately, becoming a lost art. Appreciate your tenacity.

  7. Urban Guy (with a little help from his friends) deserves praise here for scooping the News Sentinel big time on the issues of the closures and the grease trap thing. I guess they’ll eventually get around to putting something in their Saturday edition.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      I’ll admit it has been interesting to watch. All the local media got on it after I wrote it. Hard Knox Independent asked if they could place it on their site with a partial story and a link to mine. WATE interviewed me and included that and a screen-shot of my blog on their report. WBIR and Knoxnews, not so much as a mention as to how they got onto the story. I guess it’s all fair. I certainly don’t own the story, but I will say that I appreciate Hard Knox Independent and WATE for the way they handled it.

  8. Sad to see my fellow restauranteurs having to close their doors. It’s a very painful thing – and I might have to close mine too… This KUB grease interceptor thing is quite out of control.

    I managed to squeak by and get approval for a smaller in-ground set up than the 1,500 pounder… I escaped the $19,000 bill but I probably had to spend $5k to be in compliance…

    Not only that, the program requires you to get monthly pumpings at $200-300 per month! That’s a lot of money. There’s only a few people approved to service the things and KUB comes and inspects your logs to make sure you’ve been paying your debt to society!

    During one of my inspections, KUB basically broke my grease trap. Threaded the bolt that holds the lid on and I had to pay hundreds to have the thing torch cut off and then repaired.

    The KUB grease control program is the restaurant gestapo that puts a tremendous amount of strain on the already overstrained coffers of restaurant owners. Contrary to popular belief – running a restaurant has the tiniest or margins to work with and massive amounts of capital at stake just to keep the doors open. One wrong move – one stretch of bad weeks – one major repair can sound the death knell for a small, locally owned restaurant. Fat chance finding a lender to finance anything for a restaurant…

  9. Why doesn’t KUB or the City setup a program to help restaurants with this issue. Perhaps with preferred vendors and low or zero interest financing for these required improvements. It seems like this would have a lower economic impact than causing businesses to close due to heavy handed regulations. I understand the need for grease traps but work with customers to implement reasonable and affordable solutions.

    • Heavy-handed regulations? You mean regulations that keep the sewers working and prevent unnecessary maintenance and replacement costs?

      The restaurants have known about this for a decade and have done nothing. They could have gotten a loan a decade ago and had it paid off five years ago or more.

  10. when the city of Knoxville turned over the operation of all city services to KUB it was because there have been little if any updating of over a hundred year old system in downtown Knoxville. The lawsuits, the settlements with the EPA and all of the sewer system upgrades KUB has been implementing the last 10 years that has driven the skyrocketing cost of KUB services in their service area or because they basically neglected these updates for decades.

    And now after all of the taxpayer dollars spent on the rehabbing and renovations and all the updating in downtown Knoxville, KUB has now turned their back on all small businesses in the city by not stepping up to the plate and coming up with realistic cost effective solutions to keep these businesses open. How does it serve the city of Knoxville to drive small businesses into closure because of KUB errors over the last five decades. Every City Council members should be contacted about this issue. If HUD funds can be used to improve the facades of all the buildings on Broadway, maybe some of those funds can actually be used to keep business is open on the square.

  11. Interesting point Matt, and true. KUB apparently had this in policy 10 years ago. However, when I purchased Sapphire 6 years ago I had no idea about this requirement. Had I, perhaps I could have built it into my existing loans. Now 6 years later I’m threatened and lectured by KUB inspectors. It’s very disheartening. They did not tell me who even installs or sells them. I had to try and find someone. It’s been a real pain.

    The hand washing dishes makes no sense to me. If the problem is greasy water than how does that solve the problem? When you empty the triple sinks they go into the trap? If they do wpark, I’ll definitely be going that route. This will increase my labor costs by an hour a day most likely, but a triple sink is a few hundred dollars (installation is a couple hundred as well). That’s within the realm of not having to borrow money though.

    • Kind of funny how the Dirt People (Environmentalist Wackos) are eating their own? They are ruining their favorite hangouts. LOL!

      • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

        Lee, You are new to this site, so I’m going to give you a pass on that comment. We have discussions with a variety of points of view, but we don’t call names. That’s childish. And we don’t really laugh when small businesses die. That’s cruel. Please don’t do it again.

    • Jason Mitchell (Popculture) says:

      Aaron (Saphire) – when I moved from downtown to my current location and had to fight for using an under the sink grease trap (vs. grease interceptor) my inspector said that if you use a dishwasher, the grease interceptor was mandatory because the chemicals used to run the dishwasher were much more harsh than using some Dawn and bleach for sanitation. Right or wrong, that’s how it was explained to me at the time.

      Nobody wants to spend money unnecessarily, however it does seem like the landords around the city would find it in their best interest to maybe split the cost of the interceptors with their tenants. Once a space is a restaurant then for the most part it will always be a restaurant. I can’t imagine Lattitude 35 becoming a GAP or doctor’s office. So, it should be considered a capital improvement for the building. And half of the $20k-$30k it will cost some of these businesses can quickly disappear in lost revenue (rent) waiting and negotiating a new tenant, and then further waiting for that particular spot’s build-out to happen.

  12. Fred Wilson says:

    The engineer inside of me wonders why a galactic interceptor wouldn’t be cheaper and more efficient than a grease interceptor?

  13. Christopher says:

    I will miss Latitude and Shonos, but not Orange Leaf. Their management and handling of the School Coupon Book was the most unprofessional thing I ever saw. For Orange Leaf, it was disappointing to know that it was a new business, but it was not kept up. I’d rather see a better company with better management that can bring and keep a customer. Stock and Barrel are new and a wait list constantly.

  14. From what I am hearing these requirements have been in place for some time. I can only assume they are just now enforcing it. Business owner I talked to said he replaced his to get up to code six years ago.

  15. Carolyn Greenwood says:

    I know grease can be a huge problem for utilities. I wonder, though, if anyone has pursued using an above-ground unit
    like what Goslyn makes. You can hook a dishwasher into it and
    some swear by them in the food service industry. I don’t know how
    much they cost but the savings
    on installation and maintenance would have to be significant, especially for an historic district where digging up so much property is an issue.

    • I never heard of Goslyn, but I just watched their infomercial and it sounds pretty great. Would be worth finding out if these meet KUB’s “grease control program” regulations. And if they do, why isn’t KUB suggesting them as a possible option?

  16. Environmental activism and meddling are at the root of this problem.

    • Infrastructure is at the root of this problem. If the businesses don’t pay for it, we would all eventually pay for it with raised utility bills. Pick your poison, I suppose.

  17. KUB is ran by greedy morons that are more interested in money than service. Keep that in mind and it all makes sense.

    • Not really. This requirement has been in place for six years. It’s just not being enforced. Additionally, the rent issue has nothing to do with KUB.

  18. Latitude severed 3 underage cadets 2 in one night. I worked next door the night it happened. I’m assuming the other two just didn’t have the business need to stay open.

  19. Wow, this is terrible news and terrible policy driving it. I wonder about other businesses on the square as well, such as Cocoa Moon. A year ago when I first moved here, it seemed often jammed. Now, as often as not, only one side even seems to be open. Am I just missing the crowds on different night?

  20. Scott Robbins says:

    Downtown rent costs are what are keeping both Market Square and 100 block businesses on an in/out cycle. It’s a shame, but the market demand is apparently there for people to give it a go with new ventures or we’d be seeing commercial storefronts sitting vacant for months, and that is not happening. Or at least … not yet. I must address one comment you made: “We have Nama for sushi” – ah, if only. After repeated visits with bad service, we stopped going there more than a year ago and have been going to Shono’s instead. Hopefully they have fired the entire wait staff and started with a clean slate there. Perhaps a news story on that? Shono’s was (is) good – sorry to hear they may be going out of business. Someone is going to open a Thai restaurant downtown one of these days and make themselves a small fortune … but it’s likely not going to be on the Square or the 100 block. And we wait.

    • I agree with you, Scott. Shono’s served up such delicious food without the misguided pretension that we’ve always found at Nama. We’re in Knoxville, for pity’s sake!

      So sad about Shono’s. 🙁 🙁 🙁

  21. It is hard to believe that even KUB would be S&S arrogant that it is willing to put so many restaurants out of business. So much for the idea that The city wants to encourage redevelopment of downtown.

  22. Kathleen Robinson says:

    My husband posted above and I agree wholeheartedly with what he said. The other problem is that people and our government do not support local businesses. As a price conscious society, people go straight to “the deal” and not consider quality of product. Small businesses, in most cases, offer higher quality products and MUCH HIGHER quality of customer service. The cost of the grease interceptor (which we would probably be facing if we had not sold) is a nail in the coffin of many small businesses struggling to keep their doors open. The hoops that entrepreneurs must jump through to serve their customers are daunting. Big businesses, on the other hand, make “deals” and are offered so much more than small business owners. Society must change before small businesses are what they were to our country when it as founded.

  23. It seems like the owners of the buildings would be willing to come to some sort of agreement with the business owners to cover the cost for grease traps! I agree with the comment that the rent prices are prohibitive for most small businesses. The only ones turning a profit are the property owners. KUB has all of the money from everyone! It’s their requirement they should pay for it! Sadly this is demise of many small towns as well.

  24. I really appreciate your actual reporting of information as it pertains to downtown Knoxville and the struggles of these owners. All of it makes sense, but of course makes me sad that things are so that at times good people can’t seem to catch a break. Regardless, I really value the work you do to report on these issues and keep us as a community informed. Keep up the great Downtown reporting for years to come. Real news…factual and direct.

  25. It would be interesting to hear from the CBID on this as well.
    ~m.

  26. There are cheaper options for the grease interceptors. The problem is KUB is demanding you use the one they tell you too.No options. Almost makes you wonder if someone at KUB is getting a kick back. Someone with the city needs to get involved with this before downtown takes many steps backwards in the redevelopment plans.

    • I kind of wonder the same thing. I am on the receiving end of the KUB grease interceptor enforcement as well. What is suspect to me is that they didn’t suggest I remove my dishwasher and switch to only manual warewashing to become “in compliance” with their Grease Control Program. This article says that Stock & Barrel only washes by hand, so it seems that could be a possibility for us too. But it was not suggested. They just directed us to install a 1,500 gallon grease interceptor.

      If following up with people within the City and CBID, please also contact Patricia Robledo who is the “Business Liaison” for the City of Knoxville Office of Business Support. This is a KUB (not a City) regulation, but this is affecting a lot of downtown businesses.

  27. I would love to see a grocery store (larger with more options & produce than The Market on Gay), a pharmacy, and a Thai restaurant with counter service downtown. (Thai is my fav!) Living downtown it was hard to find a place to pick up dinner when I worked late. Many of the restaurants are full service sit-down places, unless you want a sandwich… Even a Chipotle would be nice. Having a real grocery store and pharmacy, even a Walgreens, would be great for residents and hotel dwellers. I realize I mentioned some chains, but that’s mostly for easy imagination. 🙂
    I’m sorry to hear about the high rent and grease interceptor situation. Maybe a silverlining can be further development of other neighborhoods like in Old North, 4/Gill-EmoryPl, or Sevier-Island Home. I’m all about downtown, but having real neighborhoods (residential with everyday amenities) is so much better than housing only. While I’m listing all my ‘wants’, I’d like urban townhouses too. What’s up with no townhouses in/near downtown? That’s usually one of the first things that happens with in-fill development and great for young professionals that want to buy rather than rent. Thanks for listening ya’ll!

  28. Sad to hear this. An outing to Market Square has always been special for my family. I appreciate your thoughtful coverage of downtown and your support of the local businesses as well.

  29. Alan,
    I can tell you more about the grease interceptor. Sapphire is also being hounded and threatened to get one and told if we don’t they’ll shut out power off. We’ve also been in business since 2005, so I’d like to know when KUB signed this new law. The first quote I got was $32,000 to install 3 500gallon capacity grease interceptors. Each one is 3foot by 6foot. KUB someone thinks we need a 1500 gallon capacity grease interceptor. To put that in perspective, we’ve used a 30 gallon grease trap for 9 years. Wrap your head around that for a minute. It’s no secret that we’re more bar than restaurant. We probably average between 10-15 loads of dishes on a slow night to 30-40 on a busy night. That’s extremely low for a restaurant.

    My contractor is still looking for a work around. He estimates even on the low end this will end up costing me between $5-10,000. When I’m the only owner and I just borrowed a lot of money the last two years to renovate my kitchen, that idea really stings.

    I sympathize with my other friends and colleagues closing their business. I’m very grateful as well that my landlord and I have agreeable terms that don’t spike to ridiculous numbers ever year.

    That last poster is definitely right that this won’t be the last of the closings. KUB is basically putting the nails in all the struggling businesses. Maybe more chain restaurants will replace them because it’s a huge risk to entrepreneurs like myself.

    • Nancy Voith says:

      This post and follow-on comments are an “early” alarm (although it sounds like we are all becoming aware too late for some businesses) of things to come that will not bode well for downtown eateries. It sounds like KUB needs to become more a part of the solution and help independent eateries determine how they can meet this grease interceptor requirement in a REASONABLE way, with a very clear view of what is needed to get the job done AND is affordable for small business owners.

      If downtown becomes a destination full of only big brand eateries, we will all be the losers. The special entrepreneurial places are what makes Downtown different from Turkey Creek. There’s a reason I go downtown to spend my restaurant and, consequently, my retail, dollars.

      Alan — It would be great to get the perspective of the KUB executive in charge of this grease interceptor requirement, married with thoughts from Bob Whetsel or Rick Emmett and CBID. How can we create an immediate and targeted dialogue with the powers that have an interest in what’s best for downtown to get to a reasonable and affordable solution for independent restaurants?

      • Has anyone contacted Andrea May (KUB’s communications coordinator), andrea.may@kub.org to ask the tough (but necessary) questions? Sounds like it’s time we get concrete answers and proposed solutions from the powers-that-be. Andrea did a good job of researching answers for me (City People newsletter) in regards to the cause/cost, etc. of the major water main break at Main and State St. last spring, as well as the ongoing utility/water upgrade project throughout downtown. I’m also wondering if this 20K grease “filter/trap” requirement has always been an issue or is just a recent development? I don’t recall hearing anything about it before.

    • A grease interceptor the size of a swimming pool is wacko.

      From my limited experience dealing with them, it seems that the employees of KUB would be much happier if all of their customers would go away. The heavy-handed implementation of this grease trap requirement fits that impression.

    • Good luck, Aaron.

    • Barry Garner says:

      Aaron thank you for clearing that up its sad and I think downtown needs to come together on this issues or there will be no downtown.

      • Totally agree. Everyone should get in on this “solution” because the last thing we need is downtown to be boarded up (so to speak)….again.

  30. I can’t believe Shono’s is closing after such a grand remodeling. Is there no other solution to bring down the price of these grease traps?

    • KUB could install large units in the alley that would have a capacity to handle a city block. They could charge a “connection” fee and a monthly charge to put compliance in a monthly “bite” size price.

    • The Goslyn grease interceptor can be installed at under $5k. It fits under the 3-compartment sink. Grease recovery is almost 100% from restaurant waste water. Goslyn is made of stainless steel. We have never had one wear out. Recovered grease is recycled with waste vegetable oil from the deep-fryers. Grease trap pumping is never required. see http://www.greasetrap.ca Made and designed in the USA

  31. Nathan Robinson says:

    I think one major factor that isn’t really mentioned is the price of rent, especially for places like Market Square. I had a small business that I sold recently. When my wife and I decided to venture into opening the business we naturally looked at several locations for our store. The downtown rent is ridiculous. We actually considered expanding last summer to downtown but we would have to triple our sales just to pay the rent. The landlords have no interest in making the business that rents their spaces a success, only making as much off the property as they can. I understand that the purpose of renting a space is to make money but with so much turn-over in businesses it’s going to eventually decline in property value. I honestly don’t see how many of the businesses that are down there are in fact staying open. I expect many more closings in that area in the time to come.

    • So very true. Having high rent coupled with limited acessibilty due to parking conditions will revoke the viability once perceived of the revitalized downtown for most business.

      • I cannot believe that in December of 2014 someone would actually have the chutzpah to claim “limited acessibility [sic] due to parking conditions” in referring to downtown. Note to Helidork: people who read this blog know better. You’re wasting your time trolling here.

      • There is plenty of parking in downtown Knoxville.

    • Heather Booth says:

      Someone ought to research the rent issue. I believe that is why McKay’s had to leave Kingston Pike. And there was an antique mall near Bearden Elementary that also closed because of high rents. It was replaced by a pawn shop. I would like to know what kind of tax deductions landlords get from having unrented buildings. It seems to me there must be some benefit to leaving a building unrented, otherwise it would be so unprofitable that they would be forced to lower their rents. It’s not good for the community when rents are so high that good businesses leave and pawn shops come in.

      • The tax deductions are nowhere near as valuable as the income of having it rented. It is largely done to maintain the high rent cost. They would rather let it sit empty than discount the rent, which would in-turn affect the negotiable value of other properties. This is what happens when only a handful of people own the lion share of property.

  32. I’d be curious to know whether the grease intercepter requirement is just for downtown businesses or whether it a requirement across KUB’s service territory.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      It isn’t just downtown, for sure. I’ve been told, for example, that some of the people wanting to renovate buildings and open restaurants in Happy Holler have been told the same thing. The reason it’s such a bigger problem for many of them is that these old buildings weren’t necessarily built in such a way as to make installing one possible. It seems to me there should be some allowance for older buildings.

      • Is this just a coincidence that all of this is happening now? Is it a new law? Does this foretell other restaurants downtown are now going to have to install grease traps or go out of business?
        It odd how large corporations get tax breaks ( the two large bank buildings downtown just got a huge one in the millions of dollars) and special deals and exceptions from KUB, TVA, etc, but small businesses get nothing. Unfair.

        • It is part of the agreement Jun unilaterally signed with the environmental protection agency about a decade ago.

          It’s an agreed order, as with all federal agreed orders it is online just look. It is also why your wastewater Bill is so high.

          As to who pays, that is entirely the domain of KUB. THERE IS ENGINEERING REASON THAT TWO COLLECTORS OR FILTERS WOULD NOT SERVE ALL OF MARKET SQUARE.

      • Grease interceptors are usually built below parking lots or loading areas adjacent to buildings. This is certainly a challenge working within a historic urban area, which most often does not have such things.

  33. Peter Scheffler says:

    Thanks for your informative posts. I think a report on the new grease trap requirement would be good. Interview KUB, TVA, TDEC, UT Water Resources Center and citizen water quality activists.

    • Why doesnt the county, state, or city set up grants or a program to help offset the costs? And does the state licensing board agree with KUBs changes? Is this a true need for energy efficiency or just a money ploy?

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