New Development Comes to Emory Place

5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

If you’ve never considered Emory Place, it’s worth walking through and giving it a bit of thought. If you don’t know where it’s located, consider walking north on Gay Street, past the 100 block, over the tracks and past Regas Square, under the Interstate and another couple of blocks. It’s less than a mile from Market Square, but it was developed to be similar to our favorite square.

According to Jack Neely, most of the buildings date from around 1890 to 1900 and the two sides faced a central market house. The Central Market House was built about 1890, St. John’s Lutheran Church in the 1920s. Jack says the Fountain City steam trolley had its terminus there in the 1890s, while the Central Market House was torn before it was twenty years old. He indicated there is more detail about the Central Market House in his upcoming book about the Old City, which will be available very soon. Follow the Knoxville History Project to get the details.

Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Tim Hill has owned the buildings on the northwestern side of Emory Place for about ten years and has recently begun the redevelopment of 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place. The interconnected buildings most recently housed General Auto Parts which had the first and second floors and the basement filled with inventory. The 15,000 square foot basement stretches along that entire stretch of buildings and underneath an adjacent parking lot and under the old post office building on the corner. Mr. Hill said the basement of that building originally housed the horses used by the postal service.

When the business closed, Mr. Hill said entering it was like stepping back in time. From the 1970s paneling to the linoleum and ancient carpet covering amazingly intact hardwood floors, it was from another era. Manual typewriters sat beside early versions of desktop computers with green screens. He likened it to a set of Mad Men.

Bulding Plans at Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Inside Street Level, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Inside Street Level, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Inside Street Level, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Hill renovated the corner building when he took possession, but these had to wait until they were not in use by the business which dated back to the mid-1970s. He’d also restored the facades and the electrical system which he said was so old that KUB only had a couple of people who could work on it — and they were nearing retirement.

Basement Space beneath 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Basement Space beneath 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

Basement Space beneath 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

The majority of demolition has been completed inside for what Hill says he wants to be a development “with a historical feel, but a modern use.” R2R architectural group developed the plans. The market will dictate the ultimate use, of course, but plans call for retail on the bottom floor and two large apartments on the top floor. He envisions restaurant use for 13 Emory Place. The adjacent parking lot could be utilized as a patio for the restaurant, while the basement offers plenty of space for any needed grease interceptors.

Parking Lot Adjacent to 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

View behind 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

View behind 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

The parking lot/potential patio has been scraped clean of asphalt which was covered a cement slab covering the basement. Water had seeped through over the years and had begun to deteriorate the supports underneath. The cement supports are being recast and the pedestal will be re-sealed for its future use.

Floor Plan for Emory Place Development Apartments, Knoxville, July 2019

View Inside Future Residential Space, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

View Inside Future Residential Space, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

View Inside Future Residential Space, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

View Inside Future Residential Space, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

The other spaces (and, really, all of them) could be used in other ways, for retail or flexible office space. The work, so far has rendered them near-blank slates for future tenants to help determine design of the interior space. Hill says he could see a brewery or maker space as well as other uses. Each of the three ground-level spaces has over 2,000 square feet, plus basement space below.

View From Inside Future Residential Space, 5, 7 and 13 Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

The primary external difference to the building will be that the apartments on the second floor will have expanded windows relative to what is seen today. This is to make the apartment space more appealing. The group considered making four smaller apartments, but went will two large units in an effort, not only to provide windows at each end, but also to allow for larger units which are hard to find so close to downtown. While one unit is just over 1750 square feet and the other is just over 2,000, they each have three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and a skylight.

Elevation Drawings for Emory Place, Knoxville, July 2019

It’s another step in the movement of development to the north of downtown and a major step in the re-emergence of Emory Place. It’s easy to imagine the smaller version of Market Square becoming a smaller, but equally vibrant version of its older twin. Simply replacing the small road and parking between the two buildings could be transformational to that end.

If you think you might be interested in this residential or retail space, contact Mary Katherine Wormsley at 865-332-7822.

Comments

  1. Just John says

    That’s great news ! I’m happy to see the revitalization spread from the downtown core.

    What are they going to do with that giant 15,000-SF basement ? In one of your photos it appears it’s accessible from the back-alley: it would be nice if they put parking spaces down there to serve the new commercial / restaurant tenants.

    Thanks for all that you do, Urban Guy.

  2. Bill Myers says

    This is great news. Emory Place has special ambiance of its own. As a very long time area resident, the development of the central city and surrounding areas has brought many welcome changes. With the high volume building use in the area, parking remains a very real issue with development on N Broadway, Central St, 5th Avenue and side streets like Emory, Tyson etc. At the same time the city has redone the streets and access corridors in way that has restricted traffic removing lanes, turn lanes, narrowing lanes and blocking corner views with landscaping and weeds on the new corners that jut out into the road. Driving walking, and riding bikes down here has become more of a challenge and more dangerous. Almost all the change and “revitalization” is great, there are some issues that need to be planned better- the “streetscaping” being one of those things that works better on paper than in reality.

    • I have been running along Central 2-4 times a week since 2012 and I find that it is much less dangerous with the new sidewalks. I never have a problem driving on it, either.

    • What I’ve been noticing about the new curb cuts and streetscape flower beds is that we suddenly have well-protected parallel parking spots, even with painted lines in some locations. Parking is needed up that way and any guidance for newbies is helpful. It feels like the streets are made narrower by the curb cuts, but that also helps to slow us down in our cars and be more watchful for pedestrians. As a nearby resident, I’m fine with the changes.

  3. This is great news! I love Emory Place and think there is so much potential to make this area a node for the community to grow around and connect people along a path from Downtown to places like Happy Holler. I remember reading a story a while back (probably by Jack Neely) that mentioned this entire square was also one of Downtown Knoxville’s first city parks and that after the trolley line went away it became a big parking lot in the 1950’s, but that some time in the 1990’s the parking was narrowed and the large green space brought to the front of building 16. This is one of the first instances that I have read where a grassroots campaign was able to achieve something like this in Knoxville.
    Will we be finding out soon what is happening to the large building to the North of this site on Central? I have seen quite a bit of facade work going on and was curious.

  4. Have been in love with Emory Place with fantasies since taking my work to be photographed at Lab 1- was it called that? Fantasize Boutiques- Antique- Retro- Jazz of course- lots of strolling around💕

    • Cynthia,
      It’s called A1 Labarts. The organization exist for many years.
      Check it out and put it into your creative mind. The photographs where a project, not an ego trip.
      Nothing wrong what you do as an artist,
      But you have the capacity to go further.
      Be strong and bold.

      • Actually there was a Lab 1 I believe a while ago. Funny that we share similar names. A1 has not always been a part of Emory place … But we are very happy to be a part of this little.lovely nook of town for the past handful of years. We love bringing some of that Makers quality here. 🙂 we hope to be a part of this area for years to come. We look forward to what the new development of the spaces brings ! -Sara/a1labarts board member

  5. Emory Place is beautiful in any light and one of Knoxville’s premier places in my view. While not in the Central Business District as that district if formally defined, in whose world is Emory Place not downtown? Historically it has been. Short and sweet Gay St has it’s northern terminus there. If one were to fly over Knoxville and look out the plane window would it be seen as downtown? Of course it would.
    We have limited our vocabulary and imaginations about what is downtown Knoxville, and it is a good bit bigger than the CBID . It is not necessarily a fixed boundary, thankfully, but I submit it is bigger than we collectively acknowledge. My view is that it is better to over-imagine what defines downtown than to under-imagine it.

  6. Bill Yount says

    Interested in renting one of your 3/2.5 apartments. What is expected completion date? Please contact. Love Emory Place! Referred by Gavin Baker of Baker Labs.

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