City People Downtown Tour of Homes: Holston and Residences at Market Square

Kitchen in the Holston Building, 531 Gay Street, Knoxville

This will be the first of several posts about this year’s City People Tour of Homes. I made it to almost all of the homes offered on this year’s tour and I’ll offer my photos and reactions. Today I’ll focus on the Holston and Residences at Market Square. I’ve explored the first of the buildings on previous home tours, but I’d never been in the Residences. I had my previous impressions of the Holston confirmed and had my ideas challenged about the Residences at Market Square.

Hallway with attractive lighting, Holston Bulding, Knoxville

View of Krutch Park from Balcony, Holston Bldg., Knoxville

The Holston at 531 Gay Street is one of the most elegant of the downtown living options. Some of its units would list for over one million dollars and others would approach that figure, though one unit is for sale right now for $259K (just over 1000 sq. ft.). Much of the price seems to be determined by size of the unit and the floor, which dictates the view. One of the first skyscrapers in Knoxville, the Holston does afford some excellent vistas. Originally a bank building, it was converted to condos in 2008.

Built in unit, Holston Bldg, Knoxville

The unit on the tour this year fronts Gay Street and is sleek, modern and beautiful. A baby-grand piano sat in the middle of the main room (kitchen/living area) and the kitchen itself was decked out in granite, stainless steel appliances and modern-styled tile. An additional eye-catching feature is the built-in cherry cabinets with wet bar. This entire main room is dominated by large windows overlooking the city to the east.

Hallway into unit at Residences on Market Square, Knoxville

Bathroom, Residences at Market Square, Knoxville

The outside of the Residences at Market Square is not attractive to me at all. I love the older buildings downtown and this modern development simply doesn’t have the charm, elegance or style of it’s older neighbors. Finished in 2007, it was one of the first buildings built for residences downtown in a long time. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the worst of the modern apartments built in Fort Sanders in recent years.

Bedroom, Residences at Market Square, Knoxville
Living area, Residences at Market Square, Knoxville

So, I assumed inside would be just as non-descript and bland as the outside. I also assumed that most of these residences were rented. While nothing altered my opinion of the outside, I was wrong on all counts regarding the inside. Most are owned and the unit we toured was beautiful. The kitchen/living room was open and inviting. The hardwood floors and granite surfaces in the kitchen were elegant. I even loved the small patio and could see myself really enjoying it even though from below they are not so attractive.

Balcony, Residences at Market Square, Knoxville

And so it goes with downtown properties: They are extremely varied and, as a result, some might appeal to certain people while others simply might not be impressed. I love living in an historic building, but others might prefer new construction. Some like an industrial space, others sleek and contemporary while I might like a more traditional feel to my home. The wide range of possibilities, however, offers a likely spot for anyone who is interested in urban living.

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