We’re just a few months shy of four years passed since the first announcement was made that Regas Square Condominiums and retail spaces would be developed. It’s been a long process and Joe Petre, one of the developers and the owner of Conversion Properties, says it started with the early discovery that the geological testing had missed in its estimation of the depth of rock beneath the site. And so began the delays.
Along the way, in addition to the usual regulatory and inspection hurdles, the struggle to maintain the desired timeline was made more difficult by the fact that Knoxville is experiencing a construction boom. Lining up the appropriate crews for each stage was often difficult as all developers are competing for a limited pool of contractors. Also, while it might seem logical that the developers simply repeated the same basic plan throughout the building, it turns out there are nineteen different plans found throughout the building.
The perseverance has paid off in a building that, though redesigned slightly, looks very much like the original renderings. True to the original announcements, it includes 101 one, two and three bedroom private residences and nearly 22,000 square feet of retail space. On-site, interior parking is included on two levels with the entry on the back side of the building. A club room, storage, fitness center, private balconies and a large shared second-floor terrace make the property even more appealing.
When large residential projects are announced, speculation naturally begins as to what the demand will ultimately be and whether Knoxville’s market will sustain the growth. Demand for these units has been strong. Mr. Petre says that about a dozen have closed with the first residents moving in the last week of May. An additional thirty-seven are under contract and ready to close. In total, sixty-three of the units are spoken for, leaving thirty-eight still available. He anticipates the sixty-three units will be occupied by sometime in August.
That so many units have been sold in a building still under construction (units are being finished as closings are scheduled and certificates of occupancy are awarded) is remarkable. Some units were reserved before construction even began and each of the current owners had to imagine their space as they placed money down.
It helped along the way, Mr. Petre says, that potential occupants were able to see the steel and concrete construction emerging and know that it was well-built. They were also able to visit the various floors and see the magnificent views afforded by the building. The remaining units are much closer to finished and will require less imagination which should make them easier for those of us who have a hard time picturing an abstraction.
The goal all along was to have about this number of units sold by the time construction was nearly complete, but Mr. Petre points out that wasn’t a given. Prices on the units increased over the course of the three years the building was under construction and that helped cover increases in labor and material costs over the period. The smallest, early units sold in the 200K range while typical prices as the project proceeded ranged around a half-million dollars.
The homes pictured here, include three units which have been sold and are a part of the annual (and fiftieth) Knoxville Symphony League ShowHouse. The event offers ticket holders the opportunity to tour a portion of the building including these units which have been decorated by the decorators noted under the photographs. These units include upgrades the owners purchased, but reflect what can be accomplished through well-planned decor.
Tickets for the tour are $20 or $30 and are available at the door. The tour starts today and runs through June 30. Hours and days going forward are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Proceeds benefit the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
Unit 617 is the penthouse in the corner of the building which prominently extends above the others. Considerably larger, it includes two outdoor spaces and the largest of these has accordion glass doors which can be opened to merge the interior and exterior spaces. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer quite possibly the best views of downtown available from any residence in the city.
Each of the three units I toured offer great views of the Old City, the heart of downtown, the Sunsphere and on a clear day like the one I toured, of Mount LeConte. Vitually all the units in the building offer small-to-large private balconies to complement the larger public outdoor terrace. In addition to the views, modern design and lots of light are recurring themes in the homes.
I asked about the retail spaces and was told that progress is being made, but contracts have not been signed. The plan from the beginning was to focus on the residential units and to proceed thoughtfully with occupants for the retail spaces. The largest spaces on the end are likely to be filled with restaurants, but Mr. Petre pointed out that the three 2500 gallon grease traps they have installed could potentially support up to four restaurants.
“We wanted to build a neighborhood and we want to get it right. We’re looking for the best fit for our residential buyers and for other residents nearby. The power of having a large number of units above allowed us the luxury of taking our time with the retail spaces.” He pointed out that all of the development team is local and they want to make the city a better place for everyone, including their own families.
Anyone interested in the residential or commercial property can visit the Regas Square website to learn more or contact Mr. Petre at 865-246-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.