A Half-Dozen and One Changes Happening in the City

Marble Alley Construction, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Marble Alley Construction, Knoxville, Spring 2015

I feel we’ve reached one of those points where I need to catch everyone up on a large number of changes happening around the city. These aren’t things that would necessarily make headlines themselves – some are bigger news than others – but taken together they show a city rapidly changing. Some of them are the kind of thing that once they’ve happened it might be hard to remember what went before. So, here they are in no particular order and without much elaboration.

The first item is pictured above and is probably the biggest thing going. Marble Alley is racing to completion and should be ready for residents in the not-so-distant future. I’m fascinated to see if the addition of 250 units into downtown sates the demand or quickly gets absorbed and the demand continues to out-pace supply. It’s the largest test we’ve had so far.

Scott West, Scruffy City Hall Rooftop, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Scott West, Scruffy City Hall Rooftop, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Scruffy City Hall Rooftop, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Scruffy City Hall Rooftop, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Scruffy City Hall now has rooftop seating and a bar is being built. This is one of those little stories that will likely grow into a larger story. The plans for this rooftop are pretty fantastic. Remember the World Grotto? Imagine it on a rooftop.

Strong Alley, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Strong Alley, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The scene above is not unusual for Strong Alley, located between Market Square and Gay Street. Since the art was first added nearly a couple of years ago it is often full and very rarely empty. And that’s with some pretty rough patches of poor drainage, uneven pavement and more. What would happen if the surface was converted to scored concrete, cool gas lighting was added and a few other touches? A make-over is included in the budget and a design is coming soon. This one will grow into a larger article. Expect more in late summer.

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig, 23 Market Square, Knoxville, Spring 2015

The Impeccable Pig opened within the last couple of weeks at 23 Market Square. It’s the spot last inhabited by the Peanut Shop. Check them out.

John H. Daniel Building, Jackson Avenue, Spring 2015

John H. Daniel Building, Jackson Avenue, Spring 2015

I rounded the corner in the Old City to this sight. At first I couldn’t figure out what seemed so odd. It’s the old John H. Daniel building, which is moving along its way toward residences (and I hope retail on the street), but I knew that already. Then it hit me: The transformers and power lines and all the obstructions to the sidewalk are gone. This is going to be a major face-lift to the Old City. I’m thinking the Old City is heating up in a pretty major way.

Adorn Interiors, Central Street, Knoxville, Spring 2015

Adorn Decor and Company, Central Street, Knoxville, Spring 2015

I also learned that the Interior shop formerly known as Mango’s is now “Adorn Decor and Company.” Same owner, great furniture and other interior pieces. Go to their FB page and give them a “like,” but most of all, go to the store and check them out. They are just down from the Urban Bar and Grill in the same space as The Melting Pot.

KUB Meter on the sidewalk, Knoxville, Spring 2015

KUB Meter on the sidewalk, Knoxville, Spring 2015

I’ll end with this one. I’ve seen a couple of these on the street, recently. I think this one is on Central Street just around the corner from Emory Place. Maybe they’ve always been configured that way, but does anyone else see a problem with this design? I’m going to bust a knee-cap at some point.

Comments

  1. I must be the last person in K-Town to find out the alley with all that wall art has a name. Making it more pedestrian-accessible with those old-timey street lamps would be great. I’d love to stroll down it and view all the art without fear of turning an ankle or falling into some street grease. I don’t know much about art but I know what I like, and this stuff is good.

  2. Love it or not, I think Marble Alley will be good in that it will pull in some renters who would have otherwise gone to a suburban apartment complex.

    • Cliff, I hope so. If it does well, it could encourage a few more similar projects like it. Building from scratch on the scale makes it easier to build lower priced units than things like warehouse conversions.

  3. It’s also sad that lower income brackets are assumed to always be surrounded by crime. Or by people who cause problems. I’m not at a high income bracket and I’m not a criminal or disruptive. The stereotype is awful. I do well with what I have. I keep my budget. I have two jobs. Between both I hold close to if not over 40 hrs. However, it’s not one job, salary, I don’t drive an expensive car, and I don’t know the right people so finding resources is hard when no one seems to want to help either. I love Knoxville just wish it wasn’t a dream anymore.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I don’t think there is an attempt to keep lower income or middle income people out of downtown as much as we do capitalism in this country and it’s all about supply and demand. Fifteen years ago you probably could have purchased a small building downtown on your income. It’s just a small-scale issue that larger cities everywhere have. There’s a reason that in the 1970’s Stevie Wonder sang, “Livin’ just enough, just enough, for the city.”

      • Oh I don’t believe its intentional by any means, just wish it was more doable. I’m from Baltimore and I also went to school in Philadelphia, so demand I understand. This city is smaller and a lot less crowded ant that’s very appealing to me. I guess it will happen one day. If I could have bought a building 15 years ago I wish I would have been here lol. Would have loved that!

  4. I looked at the plans on their website, but for a box, your paying $875-$1,100 for 1 room. It would be nice to see some affordable housing downtown that isn’t on campus and not in gov housing. It seems that prices are really high for an area with not much condoning that price scale. $875 for a box apt overlooking the Kat station seems a bit much for me.
    I love being downtown but some of the pricing to live there seems to run the pace of other cities, which also have a lot more to look at then one or two streets of high scale retail. It would be nice to see some nice, safe, mixed income residencies downtown.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Mixed income residences have been discussed at various times, but as long as the demand at the current price point is enough to immediately fill any vacancies, I would guess prices are not going down.

      • I know, and it is sad because I love Knoxville and would really love to move downtown. It would be almost a dream for me, but it isn’t doable at that price. Which is a complete let down. Its sad that people who work really hard and are good patrons and citizens can’t afford to be where they want. The way of the world I guess.

  5. Larry Lewis says

    I agree about that gas meter, as a (sueable?) accident waiting to happen. Looks like it’s time for KUG to ask KUB. Alan, your city is exploding, your enthusiasm is infectious and I commend you for keeping your head above water, getting it all written down so succinctly….and with a new addition to your family. I don’t know whether this is your “job,” but it’s the best one going.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Thanks, Larry. And, yes, it is my “job.” Some days it feels like real work and some days it feels like I’m the luckiest guy in Knoxville to get to do this everyday. I’m glad you like it.

  6. Curious about the 811 East development on Hill Ave behind the police station. http://www.live811eastdowntown.com/ It’s at least big if not bigger than the Marble Alley project, and will add another new influx of residents to the city core. (I realize this is the far reaches of what might be considered “downtown” but it’s actually closer to Market Square than, say, Downtown North in terms of distance).

    • …and two trolleys run directly in front of the complex, giving residents convenient, free access to the transit center, central downtown, and as far west as University Commons

    • jennifer corum says

      Glad you mentioned that, Abe. I was wondering if anyone else was noticing this. It’s about 3 blocks away from the KAT bus station, which absolutely should be considered downtown.

  7. Did the new garage open too?

  8. Oren Yarbrough says

    Great observations! I was wondering if their could be an update on some of the projects that don’t have any physical signs of progress? The Kress Building and the TVA Building seem to have no activity around them right now. It made me nervous when the signage was taken down from the Kress Building’s window a few weeks ago.

  9. Chris Eaker says

    That looks like maybe it’s a remote read gas meter. I don’t know what kind they use at KUB, but this is probably one of those that can be read remotely without a person having to go physically read it.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      So if no person is physically present, why does it have to stick a foot or more out onto the sidewalk?

      • That thing sticking out is an inviting target for vandalism too. Not good for a gas meter.

        Thanks for all the updates. So, how is the BBQ at the Pig?

  10. Does the John H Daniels building have a website with details of the units and pricing yet?

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