A New Downtown Building Gets Taller


The Crozier, a building proposed for the Old City just got a bit taller, which might seem odd since it is currently an oft-remarked hole in the Old City where Big Don’s used to reside at the corner of Willow and Central. When I first reported the pending development, almost a year ago, plans called for an attractive four-story building. Follow that link to details regarding the units and retail. Most of those remain the same.

What has changed is the structure required the deep footings and substructure visible on the site. Testing prior to construction revealed the structure would need more support given what lay underneath the top soil. Once done, that presented a clear opportunity and an option that made the project more economically viable.


A basement became the obvious opportunity and the use for that hasn’t been established. It could be retail, though basement-level retail is difficult and bowling alleys are hard to come by. More likely might be storage for units above, whether for lease or deeded. The opportunity presented by the more extensive foundation was the addition of a fifth floor. Hence the new proposal.

The Downtown Design Review Board approved the new design at its meeting last Wednesday, but not without some discussion. For those of us with no urban design or architectural educational background, the conversations there are often instructional. The setbacks on the roof, where there is both a private (under the arch) and public roof-top patio were discussed thoroughly, as were materials. The building will have brick on all its street-facing sides. Also discussed: Scale and density, two sometimes conflicting values in the urban environment.

willow-perspective floor-plans

The arch itself was also discussed and may be removed. The appendage on the left side of the building (facing it) includes required stairway access. The private balcony comes off a three-bedroom unit with 1800 square feet. Units facing Willow are two bedroom and the fourth, and final, unit is a one-bedroom on the back. Plans have called for selling the units, though downtown real estate prices have moved sharply upward in the last year, so the price previously reported are probably low. Prices will probably range from the 200’s to the 300’s for most of the units.

The street level is being constructed for maximum flexibility, to allow one large retailer or several smaller ones facing Central and Willow. One additional tidbit mentioned in the meeting: the same group has purchased the parking lot on the opposite corner, though no plans have been announced for it at this time. Despite extensive delays and the absence of any discernible activity on the there for some time, assurances were given that construction will start right away, with a hoped-for completion of mid-to-late 2017.


  1. Have they started construction yet on the regas square development. Just curious.

    • They have not. I wonder if it has to do with that abandoned Explorer that’s literally been there at least a year. Either the owner must have died or someone must have stolen the car and ditched it in that parking lot.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      No, though I know they have pre-sold units and are nearing construction. They have an ad on this page.

  2. We found out the hard way that the parking lot behind that was free parking for Crown and Goose is no longer free, even though there is still a sign that says it is. We will not pay the fine.

    • There is an option for crown and goose that you can select on the pay kiosk to get a free two hours. Spread the word.
      There are also large signs asking and reminding people to pay at the kiosk…

      • Yeah found that out after the fact. Oddly enough the ticket was given out less than an hour after we’d parked. Also 2 Hours???

  3. Wonderful news! Now if someone could just knock down the old diner and do something usesful with it, narrow Summitt Hill, and build more buildings on the former road, that would be amazing.

    • I agree Jeremy. Putting a building on the corner opposite this proposed construction will go a long way in adding density to the old city and connecting Central to the downtown. The smaller we can make Summit the better the city will be in terms of perceived pedestrian access. I also think the parking lot at the corner of Gay and Summit that is next to Crowne Plaza and used by the Sterchi Lofts needs to be sold and/or developed; That lot will make a massive change in the perceived division of Gay street at Summit.

      • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

        No disagreement likely from anyone reading this site. That said, the parking lot next to Crowne Plaza is leased for another long time (can’t remember exactly, but maybe 20+ more years or near that), so developing that will be very complicated.

        • Long term leases on parking lots are such a dangerous thing for downtown development. Reminds me of downtown Nashville and even with all the interest and money pouring into the city they can’t develop the industrial sites opposite their riverfront because of the long term leases they all have. Thankfully Knoxville has so many other sites being developed right now that we are starting to get the luxury of nit picking the finer details of which sites we would prefer to have developed rather than wishing we had any development at all.

        • I believe it’s about 36 more years. It’s a 50 year lease. I believe it started in/around 2003.

    • I keep wondering about the status of “Merchants of Beer,” the business slated to move into the old diner location. Doesn’t seem to much progress there.

      • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

        I was told recently it is a complete “go,” and that the people planning the project actually bought that entire corner.

    • How to create 85 new parking spaces and make Summit Hill pedestrian friendly without hardly trying. 😄


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