It just over a year ago – in early January – that I took you inside Tailor Lofts, the former Arby’s Building at 430 South Gay. If you don’t remember what the place looked like, you might want to go back and read it now. What we found inside at that time were the remnants of the Arby’s franchise and floors of space that had not been used in decades. Daniel Odle made the bold claim that the building would be ready in the spring of 2014. So, how is it coming?
He recently offered me the chance to come inside and see for myself. It turns out the schedule remains the same. The plans include having the entire space ready in June of this year which is pushing the spring prediction, but it’s pretty good. The spaces have changed from the dust-covered abandoned look they had at the time into a serious construction zone in which most of the structural work has been completed and other internal work is underway.
That’s not to say it’s close to looking like a finished product. As you can see from the photographs, there’s a massive hole where a large portion of the roof used to be. There is an empty cavity through the center of the building where the elevator will be. Some walls are in place in the form of studs only and other walls are not placed, just yet.
Still, it was easier to visualize the layouts of the various units of which there will be nine total. Eight will be available for lease and the prices will range widely. While nothing is set in stone, the likely lower end will be somewhere around $1000 for a small first floor unit. I didn’t get inside the first floor when I visited before and I have to say they’ve developed some clever designs to capture light for each of the units. The upper end of the range would come in the form of a third floor, two-bedroom condo with excellent views of Gay Street and amazing windows all around. That should go for somewhere north of $2200.
The ground floor will, as has been reported by Josh Flory in Property Scope, be a restaurant called Five Bar. Currently located in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Athens and Gainesville (opens Thursday), Knoxville will be their fifth location. The company does not franchise their restaurants, so each are operated by the original owners. They also locally source their food as much as possible.
Their approach is to have five different entrees available each night along with five red wines and five white wines. On the current menu from the Athens location they also have five appetizers, five national beers and five “southern” beers and five cocktails. The five entrees range widely in type, unlike restaurants which focus on one kind of food, such as seafood or Italian food. Prices range from $13 for a cheeseburger to $28 for a ribeye.
The restaurant also apparently emphasizes community involvement and is different in several ways. First, a percentage of each salary (beyond the salary, not out of it) is given to a charity of the employee’s choosing. Each employee is provided health insurance. They also are directly involved in unique ways to offer free food to those who need it. It sounds like a good group of people.
Like the apartments, the hope is that the restaurant will be open in June. The target is June 1 and everyone involved seems to be pulling for an even earlier opening date. There’s a lot to be done as a quick viewing of these pictures reveals. Given that the target date hasn’t really been moved a year into the year-and-a-half project, there seems room for optimism.