Business Update, Day Two

Today’s information comes from a multitude of sources. My favorite business blog is Josh Flory’s Property Scope and much of what I’ll mention in this post came from that site. There has been a great deal of movement so far this year in downtown businesses. Yesterday I mentioned that Reruns is moving to the Daylight Building where it will soon open (May 24) as will Union Avenue Books (April 28) and Just Ripe.

New outdoor seating at Blue Coast Burrito, Market Square, Knoxville

One business update I can give you is that Blue Coast Burrito has just added a great deck to their north side. It had to be built up slightly from the sidewalk to make it level and when the weather is good, if this weekend is any indication, it will be packed.

Interior View of 36 Market Square demolition/renovation/reconstruction, April 2011

Interior view of 36 Market Square, April 2011

Across the square at 36 Market Square, I’ve come to a greater appreciation of the task at hand. To someone with my limited (read: total ignorance) knowledge of such matters, it seemed that 37 Market Square would have been the more difficult project of the two in that all they had to work with was a facade. I’ve changed my mind.

Interior view of 36 Market Square, April 2011

Rare open view from the front of 36 Market Square, April 2011

As the pictures reveal, a stunning amount of work has to be done inside the 36 Market Square structure while not bringing the building down and not having much room to operate. I’m still waiting on the developer to contact me for a tour (he’s reading this :-)), but so far he doesn’t seem so inclined. I’m excited about what might happen on that corner. I just hope I live long enough to see it come to fruition.

Here are other tidbits which have recently happened or are in the process of happening:

  • General Store in the Fidelity Building is temporarily closed, causing a gap in retail offerings downtown for both residents and workers. The building is owned by the by the H.T. Hackney Company, a food wholesaler. As first reported here last fall, the group has been considering the possibility of expanding General Store into a small store with a light grocery selection. They have the contacts, we have the need, now we just need a better name than “General Store.” Really.
  • Regions Bank is moving across Union Avenue to the old Miller’s Building. This raises several questions in my little mind: Why did the bank cross the street? (Leave your answers in the comment section.) What happens to the ugly time/temperature atrocity, which they promised to fix, on the roof? Who will occupy that large (ugly) building?
  • I can’t see much progress on the Lunch Box move to Market Street, but it isn’t very visible from the street, so who knows? Do the Sprouses read the blog and would you like to comment?
  • It appears less likely there will be a beauty school in the Arnstein Building as the group promoting the idea has purchased property elsewhere. It’s completely clear if the other property is in place of or in addition to their plans for the Arnstein Building which seems like one of the best spots downtown and a property waiting to take off in the right hands.
  • Not to worry, beauty school fans, the same article just cited also suggests that a beauty school is still planned for the old Kress Building.
  • There is no signal that Tennessee Shines will emerge from its hiatus.
  • Sundown in the City is back in its scaled-down incarnation. That link will give you the entire schedule of five concerts starting next week (April 21- Randy Houser) and happening sporadically through June 16 (probably the most exciting to me: Warren Haynes with opening act the Black Cadillacs). This news is great or terrible to downtown residents and businesses depending on one’s perspective – and many people have a strong one. For me it’s good news. Being able to walk to Sundown concerts was a big draw for me to move downtown. I love it in all its sloppy, ugly beauty.
  • Work is moving forward steadily at the corner of Jackson and Gay on residences and retail space.
  • Improvements to Jackson Avenue Office/Retail space on the block just east of Central are very impressive and the space appears ready or near ready for lease.

So there you go. Now you are up to date on all the big business news I’ve caught lately. Now you see why I read Property Scope. It’s not just about downtown, but often that’s where I learn about business developments downtown. You might want to check it out. In the meantime, hang on for the ride. 2011 is off to a fast start for downtown development. Also, if you come across a tidbit you think the Urban Nation might like to know, pass it to me at