An Update and Look Inside the Downtown Embassy Suites

It was October 2017 when Alpesh Patel announced plans for his Kana Hotel Group to transform the office building at 505 South Gay Street to an Embassy Suites Hotel. At the time, the estimated completion date was spring of this year and work began in early 2018. Progress has been steady and continues, but the projected opening has been delayed until fall of this year.

Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Lobby View, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Lobby View, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

The infrastructure for the building is largely in place and finishes for floors 2 through 12 are “99% finished,” according to Alpesh Patel. Rooms weren’t ready for photography, just yet, but they are getting close. Remaining work on these floors should be complete, soon.

Lobby View, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Lobby View, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Previously announced plans remain accurate, with small changes around the edges. The first floor will include businesses facing the street and an interior lobby. The mezzanine level will include a much larger version of Matt Gallaher’s highly respected Knox Mason restaurant previously located on the 100 block of Gay Street. Floors 2 through 12 will be filled with suites, while the thirteenth floor will be devoted to two condominiums.

Interior of Rooftop Bar, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Rooftop Pool, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Market Square View from the Rooftop of the Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

The rooftop has been the source of much attention and, as previously announced, it will include a pool for guests and a large rooftop bar available to the public. One portion of the rooftop is devoted to an enclosed space with massive windows on three sides. Outside the enclosure, an exterior deck divided between public spaces and private space (the pool area), offers spectacular, near panoramic views of the city in every direction.

Rooftop Views from the top of the Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Rooftop Views from the top of the Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Rooftop Views from the top of the Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

There is a significant structural feature of which I’d previously been unaware: The center of the floor in the lobby will be removed for the placement of a massive water feature. This, along with the staircases in the rear of the space and the massively high ceilings (going up through the mezzanine) should make the lobby a spectacular entrance to the hotel. The lower level, street level and mezzanine will be the final areas to be finished, with finishing touches to begin in August.

Rooftop Views from the top of the Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Rooftop Views from the top of the Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

Also shown here is the view from the balcony seating outside the restaurant. It will be the first seating overhanging Gay Street and will be sheltered by the permanent covering already in place. The restaurant will also include a large interior space facing Gay and Union. The much larger kitchen than available at its previous location should allow Chef Gallaher the opportunity to expand the menu in additional creative directions.

While details are still limited, there is new information regarding the retail space in an around the first floor. Previous plans called for the presence of Maker’s Donuts. With the apparent demise of that business (and the presence of the popular Status Dough on the next block), food options shifted.

Restaurant Mezzanine Extention over Gay Street, Future Home of Embassy Suites, 505 South Gay Street, Knoxville, July 2019

K-Brew, which had previously been announced, will anchor the entrance facing Gay Street and, in another development since the original announcements, they have begun offering house-made bagels and these will be available at the new location.

Three other businesses appear to have been determined, though details are limited. A simulated golf course (Top Golf Swing Suite) will open on the Gay Street frontage, and a cigar shop appears to be a late entry. It is possible the cigar shop might have a smoking area on an upper floor patio. Finally, and on the Union Avenue side, a spa will open which is available to both the public and guests of the hotel.

A special thanks goes to Joe Hess, site manager, who patiently gave me a great tour of the building.

Comments

  1. Why is everyone so friggin negative? It is a great new addition to KnoxVegas! You don’t think out of town guests for sports events and conventions would like some place nice to stay directly in the city hub rather than The Oliver (whatever that is supposed to be)? Guess again my friend…Good Luck Embassy!

  2. Leland Wykoff says

    Great update. Thanks!

  3. Golf games and cigars? Is Patel TRYING to fail?? Does this mean Gallaher will have a cigar section in his outdoor dining area?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      I would be very surprised if Mr. Patel is attempting to fail. No, since it would be against state law for a smoking section to be in a dining area, I am thinking that is not his intention. The cigar bar is also not a finalized deal.

  4. Wondererful panoramic views. Can’t wait for a hopefully early fall opening at the rooftop bar. Cheers

  5. Do you know if they’re planning on doing anything to the exterior finish?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      That was discussed but not ultimately feasible.

      • Oh well. Maybe in a few years when someone buys the hotel again they’ll renovate the exterior :).Seems to happen a lot around here. Either way, A brutalist high rise with something in it is better than a brutalist high rise with nothing in it.

      • CHRIS CAMPBELL says

        Sorry to hear about the exterior. Any roof top signage? Thanks

    • Jonathan says

      I struggle to appreciate brutalist architecture right now. However, let’s remember that it wasn’t long ago that many people didn’t appreciate the architecture of the buildings that we have restored and love today on Gay Street, so they removed many of their architectural elements and modernized the buildings. The JC Penney building, for example.

      • I’d rather have some variety when it comes to buildings downtown. I dont like this building but I’d gladly take it over another stucco covered multi colored building. The development itself is pretty awesome. I like how many different businesses are getting in on it.

  6. Where are staff and hotel guests parking?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      The last I heard, it would be valet parking, perhaps in the Walnut Street Garage.

      • Phillip Jennings says

        I heard recently from someone at PBA that the Embassy Suites will be leasing many spots in the newly expanded State St. garage. She didn’t know how many but guessed 200. They will likely be prime spots just like the Hyatt Place has and we can all watch most of them sit empty and unused 80% of the time.

  7. Will the condos be for sale?

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.