Willow Avenue Elevation, Stockyard Lofts, Knoxville, July 2017
A shift has happened in downtown development. Whereas for years we enjoyed a renaissance of older buildings converted to new, often residential, uses, we’re now firmly in an era of ground-up construction. One such development is complete, four are under construction and a couple of others have been announced. Joining that list today is Stockyard Lofts on Willow Avenue, between the Crozier (currently under construction) and James White Parkway.
The unusually shaped parcel is bounded by Willow, James White Parkway, the rear of the buildings along east Central and Jackson Avenue where a sliver extends out beside Barley’s. It is part surface parking and part Old City Stage area. Extending six stories and using as much of the parcel as is practically possible, plans include 5,000 square feet of retail space along Willow, 152 apartments and 185 on site parking spaces.
Named as a tip of the hat to stockyard and meat-packing businesses inhabiting the area a century ago, the project is a co-development with Leigh Burch of Terminus Real Estate and Daniel Smith with Legacy Capital. Leigh was an early downtown developer, beginning work about twenty years ago, with projects such as the Sterchi and Lerner Lofts to his credit. Daniel and Legacy Capital are developing the Crozier, adjacent to this project, and Leigh owns the property and the stretch of buildings along the south side of Jackson that bounds part of the property.
Likely adding around 250 people to the Old City, the project represents a significant shift of downtown population toward that part of town. Additionally, the residences and retail space extend the face of the Old City to the east toward what most feel will be the next large development surge for downtown – to the east of James White Parkway.
The project, made difficult by the configuration of its location, has been in planning for nearly a year. The architectural firm of Humphrey’s and Partners of Dallas, developed the plans. The developers are dedicated to fully utilizing the space, offering housing at as low a price-point as possible and to contributing to the betterment of the Old City.
The inclusion of primarily enclosed parking – even though the shape of the plot prevents the use of a lower cost pre-cast garage structure – was intended, for example, to avoid putting greater pressure on limited Old City parking. Additionally, the group plans to share the alley behind the Central Street buildings for garbage pickup and for the location of a grease trap. Access to a large grease interceptor will enable those buildings to have full scale restaurants if the owners choose to do so in the future.
Access to the two levels of the garage will be via a new alley off Willow on the east side of the building and through the parking lot between Barley’s and the Knoxville Music History Mural. Surface parking between the two buildings will be maintained. The primary entrance to the development will be via Jackson, with the lobby facing that side.
The facade will include cast stone along with three stories of brick from the street level. The external walls of the top two floors will be wood colored fiber cement board with aluminum panel accents. Eighty percent of the units will be one bedroom and eight different configurations are included, again, due to the odd shape of the lot. Sizes will range from about 600 square feet up to over 1250 square feet.
In addition to private, mostly covered, parking, the project will include other amenities such as a swimming pool, club room and fitness center. While the retail space might be used in other ways, sitting on the corner of the building with a courtyard (recently included in a shift in plans), a restaurant seems likely to fill the space.
As currently designed, total investment will likely be around $28,000,000. The developers are requesting a PILOT from the city and further movement is pending the city’s response. They hope to begin construction in early 2018 with an estimated completion date of summer 2019. Total construction time is anticipated to be about sixteen months.