Sometimes I’m the first to break a story about downtown and often others get the scoop. Even when something has been reported elsewhere I often note it here, as well, because I’m not sure my readers caught it elsewhere. Also, inasmuch as this blog is a record of sorts of an era in downtown Knoxville, I think it’s important to document as much as possible on this site. Today I’ll start with a couple of changes downtown.
First, Patrick Sullivan’s, at least the building that once house Patrick Sullivan’s has been purchased by Randy Boyd, husband of Jenny Boyd who owns Boyd’s Jig and Reel, for $475,000. So far all he has indicated is that he will improve the building. No commitment has been made to a new business, but it’s hard to imagine the building being anything other than a saloon of some sort. When it’s been occupied, that has primarily been its lot in life since its construction in 1888. I’m really happy this great building will get some love.
A building that could use some love and was reported to have a deal in the works, no longer has a current prospect. The Phoenix Building which contains condos on the upper floors and the Downtown Grind and Prestige Cleaners on the ground floor, reportedly had an interested party for the basement and first two floors. The deal fell through, so it’s still on the market.
Parking has changed downtown, as well. While Gay Street has been a random mix of times allowed for use of various spaces, ranging from ten minutes to one hour, they are all now two hours. Additionally, the hours they are regulated has been extended. Whereas the spaces were monitored from 8AM to 6PM, the hours have been extended to 6AM to Midnight, so beware. Michael Haynes covered the topic very well in a recent Metropulse article. Then there are those space-age looking meters which have appeared on the 100 block. Since I don’t generally drive downtown I haven’t tried them out. Have any of you?
Finally, some really cool news: The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg will open at 23 Market Square, recently vacated by Crass Couture. Long-term readers of this blog know that I grew up in Mobile, Alabama. One of the best smelling, best tasting and all-around coolest stores downtown was the A and M Peanut Shop on Dauphin Street. It’s still there serving up hot roasted peanuts along with a variety of other items. It’s impossible to walk past without going inside to check out their hundred-year-old roaster. The shop opened just after the second World War and maintains the same address it has enjoyed for generations.
So, there’s some nostalgia involved for me (and Kim Trent), but I think most people will agree this is a very good addition to the Square. It’s a festive kind of store and it’s classiness is indicated in the four current locations: Williamsburg and Smithfield, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. I don’t mind any association Knoxville can score to those locations. No word at this time when the store might open, but the address being empty, it seems it could be soon.