Friday Business Edition – And More!

The business developments in this city continue at an adequately rapid pace to fill a blog about that topic alone. I’m not planning to do that, but I do have quite a bit to pass on today. I’ll probably follow up with more sometime next week.

Outside Hotel St. Oliver after the storm blew down the wall.

I’ve already mentioned the fact that the Market Street Kitchen is closed (see below if you missed it). It seems Mr. Ghodrat will try his fortunes in Clinton with a new restaurant there. His was an important contribution to Market Square and downtown. His vision appears to have been at odds with the new owners of the Hotel St. Oliver and they amicably parted ways. Ethan Orley, one of those owners, stood outside the hotel earlier this week when I approached, somewhat breathless at the sight of Cynthia Markert’s art in the dumpster. The wall constructed around the entrance to the Hotel St. Oliver on which the art had been placed collapsed during the high winds in the first round of storms to pass through the city this week.

After receiving assurances about Cynthia’s art, we talked about the hotel, which he plans to open very soon, quite possibly in May, which seems to me an amazing turn around given the enormity of the task. I pressed the point that we will need an open house to look around in the hotel and he seemed very receptive to the idea. During the conversation I learned about the Market Street Kitchen and the fact that a new restaurant will soon replace it which will be affiliated with the hotel and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Coolers and Shelving inside Just Ripe.

Chairs and display cases inside Just Ripe.

But that certainly isn’t all the business news about. In the Daylight Building, Reruns is planning a May 24 opening and Just Ripe is making progress. Kristen said it will open “soon.” Sandwiched between the two is Union Avenue Books. The news there is that complications have arisen which delayed the opening and the current hope, according to co-owner Flossie McNabb, is for a mid-May opening.

Interior of Crush, Carhart Building, as merchandize being added for May 1 opeing.

Crush flyer.

So that’s three openings slated for May: the refurbished Hotel St. Oliver, the relocated Reruns and Union Avenue Books. With luck we might add Just Ripe to that list, but it turns out none of them will have the first opening of the month. That honor will go to Crush, a new store in the Old City. Located in the beautiful Carhart Building that currently houses Remedy Coffee among other businesses, Crush will open this Sunday, May 1, offering dresses, gifts, cupcakes!?! and other sundries. I’m excited to see that building achieving greater utilization. There is a huge amount of business activity in the Old City, 100 Block and particularly Jackson Avenue, but I will have to save that for the next business update.

Interior,front of the new Lunchbox, Market Street.

Interior of the Lunchbox, Market Street, Knoxville.

Meanwhile, the Lunchbox has already moved into it’s new location on Market Street. As the name implies, it is a lunch spot and, as such, I’ve not been able to make it in there. You’ll have to visit for me until I can be downtown during a business day. Here’s wishing the Sproles the best in their new location.

Handbill on the entrance announces the opening of Bella Luna, 15 Market Square.

On the square a new restaurant was announced earlier this month on Property Scope: Bella Luna is taking the old Abode spot at 15 Market Square. The plan is to serve food based on that of Northern Italy. I’m not sure how they missed the memo about the western side of the square, but they are bucking the trend of Latin food offerings. It sounds like the owners are passionate about their offerings, so it should be interesting. I’ll learn a little about the different parts of Italy, I suspect.

Newly widened sidewalk nears completion on Union Avenue.

A small, but important detail on Union Avenue between the square and Gay Street is the fact that the sidewalk project is finally showing some promise of eventually reaching completion. Unfortunately, it appears cars will still be allowed to park on that stretch of the street. It will be more pleasant to sit outside Coffee and Chocolate, given the wider sidewalk, but it would have been far nicer if cars didn’t obstruct the views from that sidewalk. Honestly, I wish Union Avenue from Walnut to Gay, but that’s just me hallucinating.

I think he was waving at me. Inside 36 Market Squre a wall is constructed.

At the other end of the square, progress is actually being made inside 36 Market Square. I’m still waiting for a tour of the inside.

Interior of the Arnstein Building – everything is being ripped out.

Arnstein Building – and carried out the door.

Finally, but importantly, something is finally happening at that jewel on the corner of Union and Market. The Arnstein building was given, provisionally I believe, a CBID grant to improve the facade. Initially trumpeted as a new location for an Urban Outfitters store, until that fell apart, most recently the building has been discussed as a cosmetology school for Paul Mitchell, but that has since been called into question as they have purchased property outside downtown. Since all signs point to the Miller’s Building being occupied by a competing cosmetology school, I’m hoping something else is in store for the building. But what is the plan? Maybe David Dewhirst would like to comment below and tell us. If not, I’ll keep watching and let you know what I learn.

That’s all I have time for today. Be sure to check out the Dogwood Arts Parade on Gay Street tonight and the amazing chalk drawings on Market Square Saturday morning. After you go to the opening of Crush on Sunday, take a nap. It’s going to be a beautiful, fun weekend in the city.