John Black Photography is moving from the Daylight Building on Union Avenue to the West Jackson Workshops (514 W. Jackson Avenue). They will give up the corner spot on Union and Walnut they’ve held for the last five years in exchange for the same spot recently vacated by Boxwood Brake. Amanda Taylor told me the couple is very excited about their new spot, which includes a free parking lot next to the building. They will be neighbors with Knox Whiskey Works and Amanda hopes to host block parties there such as the ones she helped organize at the Daylight Building.
As rents charged all over downtown continue to increase, we may see more such moves. It’s interesting to watch the evolution of the buildings over time. The Daylight Building filled almost immediately upon opening. The apartments in the building continue to be filled, but the businesses have shifted a bit over time. While the John Black Photography studio has held the corner until now, and Union Avenue Books has maintained its spot, the others have changed in one way or another.
Just Ripe has been there from the beginning, but changed ownership last winter. Reruns has been there from the beginning, but they will soon close and vacate their spot. The western-most spot has seen the most change, with The Happy Envelope being the first tenant. Interestingly, like John Black Photography, they eventually moved to Jackson Avenue where they happily do business today. They were followed by the short-lived Knoxville Magazine and since that business ended, the space has been vacant.
It’s an interesting dynamic. I’m not sure we’ve currently found the sweet spot between demand and price that will enable businesses to have a decent chance to be successful with the amount of money they can hope to gross. Market Square may (or may not) be an exception, but we still have a problem getting people off the square to discover other businesses. The current shifts could leave the Daylight Building with three of five storefronts empty by sometime in August. And that can’t help the other two.
A couple of other buildings warrant a mention for different reasons. Kendrick Place, a one-hundred-year-old set of brownstones adjacent to Chesapeake’s is currently replacing cornices. It occurred to me that the story has relevance for a wider audience than the residents of that specific building for a couple of reasons. The cornice work will ultimately cost many tens of thousands of dollars and had to be replaced for both aesthetic reasons, as well as for safety. The Holston Building had some similar work done a while back.
The relevance for my readers? Two things: First, I think it is important to understand that when you buy a home inside an older building in the city that you do potentially have liabilities that go beyond your HOA dues. Old buildings age, break and need help from time to time. Sometimes the required projects are very expensive. It’s another budget issue to consider.
Second, this issue has come up recently in conversations within the CBID Board: Should CBID money be used to help HOAs with their building facades? The developers get help but currently HOAs, comprised of residents who also pay into the CBID, do not. It’s an interesting and timely question as the board is holding elections today and will make such decisions in the near future. Don’t have any idea what CBID is? If you live or own property or a business downtown, it’s an important thing to know: Today, 11:30 AM, 17 Market Square.
Finally, I have one other building I wanted to mention. Pryor Brown Garage has been in the news again recently. Having previously been slated for demolition, there seemed to be momentum building for some sort of solution that might save it from the wrecking ball. Then the roof partially collapsed on one corner of the building. My immediate fear was that this event might become the pretext to push, once more, for demolition. Kim Trent asserted that the building is still structurally sound, as determined by city engineers.
There was one error in the reports I read: There is a crack on the north-facing wall immediately beside the roof collapse. In at least one report, the crack was attributed to the roof collapse and that is incorrect. As you can see from the older photograph above, the crack has been in that spot for years. In any case, let’s just redevelop that building, already.