Jackson Terminal Building Renovations Underway

West and South Elevations

West and South Elevations

Never formally named, the loading docks at 123 W. Jackson have now been named the Jackson Terminal. Originally a freight depot for the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad, constructed in the later half of the 1880s, this building at 123 W. Jackson has housed Heuristic Workshops since the 1990s, undergoing a significant renovation in 1998. The company, which manufactures cabinetry and such for large commercial and institutional concerns continues to operate in the back half of the building.
Historical Image, Thompson Photograph Collection, McClung Historical Collection

Historical Image, Thompson Photograph Collection, McClung Historical Collection

For a number of years, the front half of the building – representing about 20,000 square feet of indoor space fronting Jackson Avenue was utilized for storage for the business. This use dates back to an era in downtown history when any use of a downtown building was a good one – if the building was simply not being allowed to fall in on itself. As the downtown resurgence has taken hold, this property has become much more valuable and what was a fine use a few years ago, may no longer be its best use.
Heuristic Workshop, 123 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Heuristic Workshop, 123 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Owners Carl Keaney and Eric Ohlgren, realizing the shifting economy of the center city considered various options for the building and have proceeded with a project that will include mixed use retail. Approximately half of the available space has been leased by Neal and Susan Green of All Occasion Catering, giving them a lovely downtown event space of their own. Plans for their half of the building (the western half) include room for about 350 guests and a lovely 1700 square foot patio area on the end of the building giving them an outdoor option, as well.
Jackson Terminal Project, 205 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Jackson Terminal Project, 205 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Jackson Terminal Project, 205 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Jackson Terminal Project, 205 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Interior Looking West

Interior Looking West

The most conspicuous portion of the project, as seen from Jackson Avenue, is the demolition of the loading docks along the southern side. Re-fashioned as a boardwalk, this feature will return in safer form and will include space for outdoor dining or simply resting or strolling between businesses along the sheltered space. As seen on the renderings, this side of the building will be very attractive and inviting. It sits below street-level for about half its length due to the Jackson Avenue viaduct. The former dock was eight feet wide, the new boardwalk will measure fifteen feet deep.
Dock Photograph from June 2014

Dock Photograph from June 2014

Looking West on Boardwalk

Looking West on Boardwalk

South Elevation from East End

South Elevation from East End

Inside, work progresses with an eye toward turning the currently leased space over to All Occasion Catering in August. The remainder of the building includes about 11,000 square feet which could, of course be leased to one client, but the current best thinking is that it will be leased to several smaller businesses and the owners will accommodate as little as 1200 square feet. Importantly, a grease interceptor is being installed as part of the current construction, so any restaurants would have that amenity included. Assuming several businesses take the space, a corridor running behind them is planned, allowing for unloading of stock through a rear entrance into each commercial space.
Jackson Terminal Project, 205 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

Jackson Terminal Project, 205 W. Jackson, Knoxville, April 2015

West and South Elevations

West and South Elevations

I’ve watched the building for several years and had imagined a project similar to Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39 in San Francisco, with restaurants and shops and streams of people flowing up and down the boardwalk. With the recent resurgence in development in the Old City and nearby areas, this seems like a good possibility for the space. The owners had at one time envisioned a brewery and that would certainly work.
Mary Katherine Wormsley, principal broker with Hatcher-Hill Brokerage, LLC gave me the tour of the project and offered the renderings you see included here. If you have some interest in leasing a portion of the remaining space, contact Mary Katherine at marykatherine@hatcherhill.com or (865) 332-7822.
In an unrelated note: This is Rhythm n Blooms week and Inside of Knoxville and the Rhythm n Blooms Festival have two weekend passes to give to a reader. Please do not participate in this giveaway unless you would plan to attend the entire three-day weekend. To enter you must send me a private email at knoxvilleurbanguy@gmail.com. You must include “Ticket Giveaway” in the subject line and your name and contact information in the body of the email. The cutoff is 6:00 PM Wednesday night. Any emails after this time will not be considered. I will randomly select the winner and notify that individual or couple in order to arrange for transference of tickets. Happy R & B week!

Comments

  1. I love this idea! It is going to make a huge difference in the use of that area. I am all for keeping the downtown parking spaces very limited, but let us not forget the elderly and the disabled. There needs to be more handicap spots downtown, not less. Thank goodness for the trolley. I try to ride it into the downtown area whenever I can.

  2. I wish Flying Saucer would open up a Knoxville location here.

    • C’mon now Steven…

      Flying Saucer is pretty cool and all, but remember:
      they got 240 beers, whereas Preservation Pub has over 300;

      They got beers on tap, but their taps aren’t the 70 taps with an emphasis on regional brews that we serve from completely unique bars like the Magic Beer Tree in the Moonshine Roof Garden, the Speakeasy, Uncorked and the balconies overlooking Historic Market Square in Scruffy City Hall;

      and most importantly, they’re a chain from Texas with 15 locations (translation: all their profits from selling us Tennesseans beer go back to Fort Worth), whereas we’re locally-owned and operated, so beers bought in Pres go right back into improving your local beer choices and places in your community.

      KEEP KNOXVILLE SCRUFFY
      by Supporting your local artists, entertainers, beers, and businesses!

      Your Pals,
      Bernadette and Scott West

      • I’m with Bernadette and Scott. Let’s promote local business owners who have done so much to make downtown a thriving and authentic space.

      • Billy D. says:

        Well you are right Preservation Pub et. Al. Are great but let’s not go all Cas Walker here and think lets just keep everything the way it is and not endorse “outside money” to come in. Urban Guy has noted that outside money is now coming into Knoxville and being invested as interest in our fair city increases. There is plenty of fun to go around! I think a World of Beer or Flying Saucer would be perfect for downtown Knoxville! In fact, I have thought one of those or similar establishments would fit nicely in The Kress Building street level. Thanks to Scott and Bernadette for all you do for Knoxville…but let’s not get narrow minded or short sighted on whether or not outsiders are welcome. The more the merrier!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yet again another shameless plug from Bernadette and Scott on Inside of Knoxville. We appreciate what you’ve done for Knoxville, but seriously?

  3. Barbara Pelot says:

    I remember this building and the area well as a teenager — a thriving, busy space at the time. Pleased to see the renewal underway. My best to the stakeholders.

  4. I’m excited about the future of this space. It’s been such an eyesore for years. A lot of people are commenting about parking being a problem. I’ve worked in the Old City for 8 years and I have never had a problem finding a parking spot. Most days I’m able to find a spot near the main intersection. If not, I park under Hall of Fame in the free spots provided by the city. If you can’t find a spot directly in front of the business you want to go to, a little walking never hurt anybody.

    • Jacci Fletcher says:

      You are correct – parking is not a problem. Illegal parking is. There is plenty of parking but if you don’t want to either pay for a monthly spot or walk a block – the choice seems to be parking wherever you want, blocking fire hydrants, keeping the 20 minute parking unavailable for business customers, parking and blocking the view of those pulling out of legal parking spots, etc. This is what needs to be enforced. There is parking under the Gay Street overpass, behind the Daniels Building in the paid lot both on Jackson and Central, not to mention the big parking garage being built on Summit and State.

      • Anonymous says:

        The main reason people don’t want to park under that overpass, even though there are plenty of spaces, is most likely because of all of the homeless that like to hang out over there. Every time I park there, I am always harassed by one of them. It is because it is so close to the homeless shelter. Which on a side note, should be moved farther away from all the new redevelopments.

        • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

          I think we may be talking about different parking areas. The underpass that makes the most sense for the Old City is beneath the James White Parkway to the east – where Rhythm n Blooms will have their main stage this weekend. There are always parking spaces there, it’s always free and I’ve very seldom seen any homeless people there. The one you may be thinking of is under I-40 across from the Public House on Magnolia which has more of a homeless presence from my experience, though I’ve parked there with no problem. I think one thing that makes people feel uncomfortable around homeless people is when they fell – accurately or not – outnumbered. That will be less and less often the case all around the Magnolia area as the population of downtown residents skyrockets in the next six months to two years.

  5. Oren Yarbrough says:

    This project reminds me in some ways of Nashville’s Baggage Building. If you aren’t familiar with the building it’s quite beautiful and sits behind the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the old Union Station Hotel. It was developed into mixed use a number of years back and has two main anchor commercial spaces with one being the Flying Saucer, a nice restaurant and brew pub. I think this type of program could work great for the Jackson Terminal Building.

    The most difficult thing will be trying to make the connection to the buildings patio space with something attractive on the Western side of Jackson where the McClung Warehouses once sat. Currently that space is used for vehicles, but I could easily see in the future their being a beautiful green space that maybe goes under the viaduct and connects it to the Western half.

    I am excited that the City of Knoxville has decided to focus attention to the Jackson Ave. side of the city and particularly the old McClung warehouses. The possibility for the two developments to tie into each other and make a nice corridor that runs from Broadway all the way to Central is a concept I find not only exciting but also very possible in the future.

    Cities need multiple anchor points or destinations to make them diverse in community activities. I am probably most excited to see the different locations slowly starting to stitch together and develop so that the destinations of interest in downtown Knoxville will soon be connected by accessible urban means without having to walk through multiple vacant or dead spots.

  6. Mary Holbrook says:

    Love this project, although hoping we’ve not gotten too many event spaces. This will make five within two blocks.
    I also want to comment on general lack of police enforcement downtown – how about dealing with the constant ignorance of “Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks” or the U-turns because the driver is too lazy or confused to just go around the block?

    • Jacci Fletcher says:

      Mary is right – overall the old city is the orphan child the police don’t want to be bothered with – another point about the traffic issues. I have called the mayor’s office, been referred to the police department, etc. Almost no notable improvements.

  7. Jacci Fletcher says:

    I think this is a great project – but the city needs to deal with the parking issues already happening on Jackson Avenue in order to make this a success. People routinely ignore parking signs (the parking in front of the Jackson Avenue Market (towing enforced – not) is a joke. People are constantly parked in front of the fire hydrants, on the sidewalks, in every illegal spot they can find, anything to avoid paying for parking. Its amazing that you can afford $1700 a month for rent but not $30 for parking. There is every manner of signs people put in their cars “Special Guest of the University” etc to avoid tickets and the police can’t be bothered to haul their butts out of their patrol cars and consistently enforce the parking laws. What is it going to be like when these businesses open? How much are they going to appreciate the traffic log jam? How much are they going to appreciate their customers saying – no thanks – its just too much trouble to get around down there? Or better yet – sorry about your building burning down, we couldn’t get to the hydrant – Heads up Mayor Rogero and Chief Rausch- something needs to be done – and with the terminal being developed, Sweet P’s and more – sooner than later.

    • Yes, this is another welcome development in the Old City. While the concern about parking abuse is a valid one and parking regs should be enforced, the solution would not be more parking in the Old City or elsewhere in the downtown core. There is no shortage of parking downtown, as Jacci notes, and much of it is free on weekends. We should be focused on pushing automobiles to the periphery and calming traffic downtown where it is apparently unavoidable (i.e., Henley, Summit Hill). I would favor closing Jackson and Central in the Old City to unnecessary vehicular traffic. For those unable or unwilling to park a couple blocks away from their destination, alternatives such as a trolley or electric utility vehicle can be made available. Numerous cities have greatly increased pedestrian walk-by traffic for store fronts by reducing automobile access to key shopping areas. It’s time to think beyond the automobile to once again put people first. Forward thinking policies can not only eliminate the parking violations Jacci notes, but also give us a more livable city.

      • Jacci Fletcher says:

        What a great idea! Imagine Gay and Jackson with no parking at all on the streets the sidewalks could expand with larger (pet friendly) out door seating and the sidewalks and parks could be filled with people actually strolling by, meeting each other and spending time window shopping and actually seeing what is available, rather than speeding by. We could have farmer’s markets, wine festivals, artists shows – all in the middle of what used to be the street. Keep the parking in the parking garages outside the edges of Market Square, Jackson Avenue and Gay Street.

    • Uhhh Hhhhh Hhhh hey beevis, she said logjam

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