Depot Avenue: A Possible Development Corridor?


White Lily Building from the northwest corner of Depot and Central, Knoxville 2011


White Lily Building early 1900s from the Knox Library Collection

When I heard about the sale of the White Lily Building and its pending development, I was excited. I’m always happy when a new project starts downtown and that was true of this particular project, but there was more. This is across the tracks on Central Street. It feels like a true expansion of the current downtown footprint. I also had recently attended the Hola Festival on Regas Square and I know that it is available for development and the two are just down the street from each other. I’d never walked through Depot, so I decided to do so after my tour of the White Lily Building.

Northwest corner of Depot and Central


Building just to the west of Central on the north side of Depot

The last picture I took of the White Lily Building elicited a bit of conversation on the blog, yesterday, and it reinforced my idea of Depot as a Development Corridor. The final picture I took of the building was from the northwest corner of Depot and Central. An astute reader (aren’t you all?), John, posted a link to the picture above which is taken from a similar (though higher) perspective and shows an attractive Victorian era building which he speculated may still be underneath the sheets of metal. A view of the two pictures makes this look very likely. Then “MB,” a reader apparently in the know, confirmed as much. So, there you have it: anonymous readers on a local blog agree: There is an anchor building for the Central to Broadway Depot Avenue Corridor.


South side of Depot across from Regas Square, Knoxville 2011


Halloween Part in the Depot, Knoxville 2011

Across the street is a building that could be made to look attractive and could house retail/residential spaces. I’m not sure what it houses right now. Beside it is an awful looking eyesore, but just past it on the north side of Depot is a strip building currently holding Industrial Belting and Supply Company. Could it be retail? I think so. This corridor is tree-lined on the southern side and then opens up to the old Depot. I’m not sure if all that space is still used by the railroad. This night there was a Halloween Party going on in one section of the depot.

Regas Square: Former restaurant and hotel is available


Jackson Avenue just over the viaduct from Depot with new Dewhirst development

To the north side, again from the Depot is Regas Square which Mr. Regas has pitched as a spot for development. It hosted the Hola Festival as I mentioned earlier and is just over the viaduct from the 100 Block where another Dewhirst residential/retail development is well underway.


Block of Gay Street between Depot and Magnolia just across from Regas Square


Other side of the block: O’Hanlon Residence


Entrance to the O’Hanlon residence

Past Regas Square is a picturesque block of older buildings which includes Whist Court (does anyone know about this place?) which opens up onto Magnolia. It also contains a small theater and the offices for the O’Hanlon Group. On the other side of that building is the very cool residence of Mr. O’Hanlon.

North side of Depot Avenue one block from Broadway (west) and Magnolia (north)


Ugliest Building in the City? ATandT Building, Depot Ave. Side

Another usable building is just past this spot on the north side of the road with a large parking lot for ATandT employees. The unfortunate part of the block is the massively ugly ATandT building itself, which no doubt employees many people and contributes greatly to the city, but still, ugly is ugly. Somebody please tell me there is a beautiful building beneath that surface!

AT and T Building: Just as ugly on the Magnolia Avenue side

So that brings us to within sight of Broadway. Of course, all this parallels Magnolia which is slated for major improvements as the Magnolia Avenue Corridor and already includes recent addition The Public House. Develop Depot, develop that section of Magnolia and connecting up to Happy Holler is creeping closer. “You may say I’m a dreamer” and I may be the only one, but still, it just doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Ten years ago it would have been laughable.

Have a great weekend and First Friday everybody. Consider swinging by the KMA for a Tribute to Phil Pollard with Jack Rentfro and the Apocalypso Quartet and guests.

Enhanced by Zemanta