Thu
Mar 14 2019
10:27 am

The City of Knoxville has announced $595,158 in historic preservation grants for properties in the downtown area. Projects include work on the Bijou Theatre exterior, improvements to the Fourth and Gill "Birdhouse" neighborhood center and funds for obtaining National Register of Historic Places designation for Standard Knitting Mills, among others.

Details in the press release after the break...

SEVEN PROJECTS RECEIVE HISTORIC PRESERVATION FUNDS

This week, Knoxville City Council approved the City’s proposal to allocate $595,158 in Historic Preservation Funds to seven projects focused on the renovation and restoration of historic properties within city limits.

Mayor Madeline Rogero created the Historic Preservation Fund with an initial commitment of $500,000 in the 2014-15 budget, and an additional $500,000 has been funded by City Council each year since. The additional $95,158 in this year’s funding amount comes from previous years’ allocations that have not been spent.

“Restoring historic buildings can be a costly undertaking, but there is community value in re-using our historic structures that are irreplaceable,” said Becky Wade, Director of Community Development for the City of Knoxville. “Left to market forces and traditional financing, many of our community’s most culturally, architecturally and historically significant structures wouldn’t survive to be appreciated by future generations. Through this fund, the City provides the gap funding that makes it possible to restore viable residential and commercial buildings, that in turn create jobs, generate taxes and are points of pride for neighborhoods.”

Proposals, requested by the City’s Purchasing Department in November 2018, were scored by a committee for eligibility, cost feasibility, project readiness and community benefit.

• Fourth and Gill Neighborhood Center, 800 N. 4th Avenue, $25,625

The project will restore the porch of the neighborhood community center known as The Birdhouse to its original status as a wraparound-style porch. The Birdhouse hosts a variety of community, educational and cultural events.

• Hull-Dobbs Building, 835 N. Central Street, $200,000

Owners of this one-time Ford dealership propose to restore the building to its original splendor in preparation to house the headquarters of local third-party logistics company Axle Logistics. There’s also the potential for retail on the ground floor.

• Bijou Theatre, 803 S Gay Street, $84,500

This project will stabilize exterior masonry on the 110-year-old theater, which is part of the 200-year-old Lamar House.

• 1815 Highland Ave, $71,533

In late 2018, the City helped Knox Heritage move this circa-1900 Queen Anne home from its original address at 1804 Highland Avenue (purchased by Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to use as a parking lot) across the street to 1815 Highland Avenue. Knox Heritage will restore and renovate the house into rental apartments that will serve as a source of income for the non-profit preservation organization.

• The Taggart Building, 3415 N. Broadway, $200,000

Built in 1939, the Art Moderne-style Taggart Building originally housed both residential and commercial tenants, including the Arlington Branch of the Knox County Public Library. Current owners plan to renovate the building into 11 market-rate condominiums that share a courtyard. Rather than a grant, funding for this project will be a repayable loan, meaning that as individual owners buy the condos, the developer will repay that portion of the loan back to the City, which will return those funds to the Historic Preservation budget.

• H-1 Gap Fund, $10,000

This fund was created in response to feedback from residents concerned that home repairs were cost prohibitive to some homeowners in neighborhoods with historic overlay protection zoning. With support from the City, Knox Heritage will create a program to administer these funds to homeowners in H-1 districts whose income levels prevent them from making home repairs that meet overlay guidelines.

• National Register nomination, $3,500

This grant funds Knox Heritage’s efforts to complete the application process to add the Standard Knitting Mill (1400 Washington Avenue) to the National Register of Historic Places. Being listed on this register opens up properties to opportunities like tax credits and federal grants.

For additional information about other projects that have received funding from the City’s Historic Preservation Fund, visit http://KnoxvilleTN.gov/development and click Historic Preservation Fund near the top of the page.

michael kaplan's picture

Positive. The Bijou needs a

Positive. The Bijou needs a new, sensitively designed marquee that doesn't hide that beautiful arch. I've done sketches for it, but I'm sure someone like John Sanders would do a good job.

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