Jo Ann Humphrey becomes the first Knoxville High graduate to move into the new Knoxville High Independent Living Brianna Paciorka, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee.
The last time Jo Ann Humphrey spent her days at Knoxville High School, she was shy, introverted, easily embarrassed.
"I didn't belong to any clubs, or anything like that," Humphrey said. "I didn't want anybody to look at me.".
Fortunately, Humphrey, 85, has had time to outgrow some of that. Now the Knoxville native, a 1950 graduate of Knoxville High, has returned to her alma mater — to live. And this time around, she's looking to be more involved.
On Monday afternoon, with her children, grandchildren and great-grandson assisting, Humphrey moved into a one-bedroom apartment, a former classroom, at the Knoxville High Independent Senior Living, which was a high school from 1910-1951...
It’s been 67 years since the Knoxville High Class of 1951 attended their last class in the historic building. On Tuesday, more than a hundred Knoxville High alumni experienced their high school in a different way as they toured the new Knoxville High Independent Senior Living center.
Developer Rick Dover gives pre-opening tour of the restored Knoxville High Monday, April 23, 2018. The grand opening of the old Knoxville High School into a senior independent living facility is Tuesday morning. “It’s hard to believe this is the same place,” said Betty Keck McKenzie, a Knoxville High alumna from 1950.
Knoxville High alumni, who have been gathering once a year to discuss the future of their high school, have been waiting to tour the new senior living center since development started. “I’m glad to see that it’s been developed as well as it has,” said Ben Christenberry, the 1951 class president. “It has saved the school.”
The original proposal by Rick Dover was accepted by the city in December 2016. You can see my summary of that plan and a link to the full plan in my article from just over a year ago. Part of that agreement was that conceptual designs would be submitted for discussion by April of this year with a deadline of December of this year for the plans to be accepted by the city in order for the project to move forward. This was a meeting to discuss that submission. The agreement further states that construction must begin by the end of 2019 and it should be completed by 2022....
Rick Dover, DIA Architects, J Davis Architects and Bristol Development Group recently presented their current vision for the Supreme Court Site on the downtown block bounded by Henley, Church, Locust and Cumberland to City Council in a workshop. The entire city block project is pivotal to downtown development as it has the potential to connect downtown to the Convention Center and beyond, to stretch downtown residential and retail parameters and to engage and begin to reshape Henley Street.
The original proposal by Rick Dover was accepted by the city in December 2016. You can see my summary of that plan and a link to the full plan in my article from just over a year ago. Part of that agreement was that conceptual designs would be submitted for discussion by April of this year with a deadline of December of this year for the plans to be accepted by the city in order for the project to move forward. This was a meeting to discuss that submission. The agreement further states that construction must begin by the end of 2019 and it should be completed by 2022....
The Historic Knoxville High School reopened Tuesday as an independent senior living facility. Opened in 1910, the school building has not changed much on the outside in 108 years.
Inside it sat in disrepair for years, though. Former audiologist Marcia Power remembers that well from 25 years working there.
"It was just an old building. In fact, we were seriously concerned that the building would not be able to be saved," Power said.
Tuesday she and dozens of others with memories there got a first look inside after a $15 million effort to revitalize the Knoxville landmark.
"I think I have an old person's heart. I love history," Power said. Tuesday she and dozens of others with memories there got a first look inside after a $15 million effort to revitalize the Knoxville landmark...
For the first time in decades there will be life in the old Knoxville High building later this week. The doors to the newly renovated Knoxville High Independent Senior Living building will open and residents will begin to move in.
The 80-unit senior independent living center is a product of Knoxville developer Rick Dover. On Tuesday morning, he will welcome residents and local officials for the grand opening.
Dover, a native Knoxvillian, acquired the building in 2014 for $500,000 after being awarded the building by Knox County. The original project cost was $12.5 million, but has crept closer to $15 million.
“It’s all I can do to keep from tearing up when I come into this building, it’s just so fantastic,” he said Monday. “I guess your favorite (project) is the one you finished most recently, but you try to take your accumulative knowledge and experience and apply all of that en masse as you go forward.”...
Developer Rick Dover gives pre-opening tour of the restored Knoxville High Monday, April 23, 2018. The grand opening of the old Knoxville High School into a senior independent living facility is Tuesday morning.”
Developer Rick Dover and his partner, Charles Carlyle of Boston Development, shared their tentative plans for the redevelopment of Knoxville’s former State Supreme Court building with city council members Thursday afternoon.
Empty for years the complex takes up a block of downtown between Henley, Cumberland, Locust and Church Streets, opposite the Knoxville Convention Center. Deputy Mayor Bill Lyons spoke to the council’s special work session about the project last Thursday.
Lyons detailed the building’s history beginning in 2005 when the state agreed to work with the city for the municipality to acquire the building. He said two previous proposals fell through for development before the city finally acquired it in 2015. Last year Dover submitted a proposal which was approved and then amended earlier this year.
The council got its first look at concept drawings and Lyons said that the final closing of the agreement will come in December with construction starting next year and being completed in 2022...”
Developer Rick Dover gives pre-opening tour of the restored Knoxville High Monday, April 23, 2018. The grand opening of the old Knoxville High School into a senior independent living facility is Tuesday morning.
It’s been a long road, one that Rick Dover acknowledges has sometimes been frustrating, but he also says it’s what he enjoys most – making the improbable happen despite the obstacles. I first wrote about Knoxville High School nearly five years ago when his proposal for redevelopment of Knoxville High School was selected by the city and he announced intentions to make the building into apartments for older residents.
It may be a situation in which if he’d known before he started how difficult it would prove to be he might not have done it. Then again, he had a conversation years ago with Kristopher Kendrick who told him that he felt Knoxville High School was the finest building ever built in Knoxville, saying, “there is no building in Knoxville with greater provenance.” Kristopher knew he wouldn’t get to redevelop the building, but he felt someone would.
The conversation is one reason the renovation and redevelopment has been so important to Rick. He told me, “I’ve been doing this for thirty-nine years and I’ve never done a project I am more proud of.” He said that some of the delays in opening involved getting parts of the project “to about 90% and then we’d see something we could do better.”
As the book closes on 2017, many will mark it as the year Knoxville’s development went from incremental climbs to a big boom.
In the year’s first 11 months the city issued building permits for construction projects worth $476 million, a 12.8 percent gain from the same period of 2016, according to a news release from the city.
Knoxville developer Rick Dover said 2017 has been a “tipping point” for the city and downtown, specifically with more good to come. For his part in the boom, Dover opened a Hyatt Place in the historic Farragut Hotel downtown Monday and by the end of the year will open an 80-unit senior independent living facility inside the former Knoxville High.
“From what we’ve seen in the last year, the city is turning and it’s being perceived in a whole different light than it had been…it’s growing organically and people are willing to invest and create buildings and experiences that are vastly different than what they had been even two or three years ago,” Dover said.
Dover continued and said the city is being looked at nationally and is being mentioned in the same sentences as Denver, Colorado, Austin, Texas and Nashville. People and money are flowing in, he said.
“I love it. I don’t see a downside to this,” he said. “I don’t think we’re giving up our identity for growth. I don’t see us losing any of our authenticity or soul due to the growth.”
A huge crowd gathered in the lobby of the Farragut Hotel building this morning, as the Dover Development, White Lodging and Hyatt Place team cut the ribbon at 530 S. Gay Street.
Over the past nearly two years, the redevelopment team did a great job with a labor of love, restoring this grand 100-year-old hotel, which had sat empty for decades. Guests at the ribbon-cutting complimented the attention to detail, the devotion to historical accuracy, and the hundreds of pieces of original artwork by local artists that adorn the new hotel.
The redevelopment team received top awards earlier this month when Knox Heritage presented its annual preservation awards.
Dover Development and Design Innovation Architects won the Mayor of Knoxville Award for this Farragut Hotel project; Dover Development also won the Knox County Mayor Award for its Knoxville High restoration, and Design Innovation Architects’ founder and president, Faris Eid, who partnered on the Farragut Hotel, also was named Knox Heritage’s Preservationist of the Year.
The Hyatt Place Knoxville will open this week on the 500 block of Gay Street. The same building once housed the famous Farragut Hotel. On Tuesday, all those involved with the process of renovating this 100-year-old building met to cut the ribbon and mark the beginning of a new era for this corner of downtown.
"Thank you, thank you for coming today," said general manager of Dover Development Rick Dover. He leads the execution for Hyatt Place.
The building was constructed in the early 1900s as the Farragut Hotel.
"It's a historic preservation project for a 100-year-old building at the corner of Gay and Clinch downtown," Dover said, "so wow, what an honor to be able to do this project.".
Not yet, but very soon – that’s when the Hyatt Place Downtown Knoxville will open to guests in the former Farragut Hotel building at 530 S. Gay St.
Developer Rick Dover joined a lobby full of downtown businesspeople, local officials and media for the ribbon-cutting Tuesday morning.
The hotel will open “a few days from now,” General Manager Trenton Keelen said, but the ceremony was held early, before people left town for the holidays. The hotel is already accepting reservations for Jan. 5 and subsequent dates, he said. Initially, rooms are running from about $169 to the “low $200 range,” Keelen said.
Dover Development Honored Again with Two Awards from Knoxville Heritage
Two historic preservation projects, both by Dover Development of Knoxville and both opening in just weeks, won major honors from Knox Heritage during the organization’s annual awards event.
Dover Development projects won both the Mayor of Knoxville Award and the Knox County Mayor Award.
The Knoxville Award was presented jointly to Dover Development and project architect Design Innovation Architect for the Farragut Hotel in the heart of downtown. The 100-year-old building, originally a hotel, was converted to office space in the 1970s, then sat vacant for years. Dover acquired the building and is spending upwards of $25 million converting it into the Hyatt Place Downtown Knoxville, which will open later this month. The building has been gutted and redone to state-of-the-art codes, technology and other systems. In addition, the style, furnishing and art, mostly by local artists, is setting a new standard for the city.
“These projects are what we love to do, no matter how challenging they become as you get the work underway,” said Dover Development General Manager Rick Dover. “DIA has been a terrific partner in taking on those challenges and finding solutions. I believe the city will be immensely proud of the final product.”
At 100 years of age, the Farragut was the newer of the two Dover projects honored this year. Historic Knoxville High first opened for classes in 1910. It closed as a school in 1951 and spent the next half century as a combination storage facility and additional office space for some school programs. Dover Development is converting the building into 80 apartments for seniors. That project, also nearing completion, won the Knox County Mayor Award.
“The more we did work on the school, the more character and beauty we found,” said Dover. “Beautiful wood doors and transoms, lots of natural light and the craftsmanship that may have been common at the turn of the century but is anything but common today.”
Historic Knoxville High school have its first tenants within a month.
“Knox Heritage has made a real difference in our city,” said Dover. “To be honored by them once again means a great deal.”
Dover was previously honored by Knoxville Heritage as Preservationist of the Year.
As the new Hyatt Place Knoxville Downtown prepares to open, the 165-room hotel needs about 70 workers. So its managers are holding a hiring fair Thursday through Saturday in the Arcade Building, 618 S. Gay St., just half a block from the Hyatt.
The Hyatt offers full- and part-time jobs, though the exact mix hasn’t been determined, General Manager Trenton Keelen said.
“It’s definitely going to be heavier on the full-time side,” he said.
Available positions include front desk, night audit, bartenders, housekeepers, laundry attendants, cooks, banquet servers, baristas for the lobby Starbucks, maintenance technicians, house aids, breakfast attendants, dishwashers and supervisors.
The job fair runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Applicants should bring their resumes, Keelen said.
“Any other documents kind of come later in the interview process,” he said.
Walking through the hallways of the old Knoxville High School brings back memories for any older person who went to high school anywhere. The large facility at 101 East Fifth Avenue has four buildings and is being converted for senior living.
Recently Knox Heritage invited the public to see the progress of the ongoing renovation there and many of the former classrooms were open for visiting to see the changes. Several have been reworked and the historic school building will soon house 80 senior citizens in what the developer says will be a “fun place to live.”
Developer Rick Dover told the crowd during the tour that the project may be completed and opened in November. He said the old school is, “The least ambitious of all the projects we’ve done because the building is in such a good shape.”
Dover spoke briefly as did Knox Heritage’s Kim Trent and Kevin Murphey. Trent recognized the many members and board of Knox Heritage and noted the organization’s work with Dover on several other restoration projects.
“We really need some more ’gray‘ here,” she said of downtown and the growing number of younger people moving to the revitalized city. Old Knox High School sits just one block north of the Old City on North Broadway and East Fifth.
Three floors of the main building are being renovated. Some of the former classrooms show indications of where the blackboards were and a large safe from the original school now graces one of the first rooms on the main floor. Visitors could see how the historic windows are being replaced or recovered, how the original woodwork has been revealed from under 8 to 10 coats of paint, and note several plaques that will remain honoring former students, principals, and city officials who authorized the 1910 construction.
Knoxville developer Rick Dover has put his name on a number of projects across town, some small, some large. His current work on the old Knoxville High School, however, is his favorite project to date.
The school was built in 1910 and is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. The vaulted ceilings, rows and rows of windows and brick façade will be turned into an 80-unit senior independent living facility this fall.
“I think it’s probably going to be the crowning, in terms of finished preservation work, probably the finest thing in my 39-year career,” Dover said. “I’m just blown away by the beauty and scale and really the grandeur of that building every time I go in it.”
Dover acquired the building in 2014 for $500,000 after being awarded the building by Knox County. He opened the doors to the public and Knox Heritage patrons July 28 to show off the renovated space.
Knox Heritage Executive Director Kim Trent said the group is happy with the project and has helped Dover access certain historical tax credits for the property.
“We’re thrilled because a few years back it was on our Fragile 15 endangered list … we were thrilled when (Knox County) put it out for proposals,” she said.
There have been a couple of scheduled completion dates, but Dover said last week he hopes to have everything wrapped up Nov. 1.
“It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but what’s more important than time is getting it right,” he said.
It isn’t the last step in the string of Alexander IV updates, but it’s a step nonetheless.
The $8.8 million plan to revamp Alexander IV on Ridge Avenue into a senior facility is officially set to move forward, after Knoxville-based developer Dover Development, Macon Land Bank Authority and Historic Macon signed a contract June 15. The facility is set to have 60 units for senior living.
Construction on the project will begin in early 2018, following a year’s delay due to contract negotiations among all parties involved, according to Alison Goldey, executive director of the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank Authority.
“We like to cover all the challenges, and any questions we have,” Goldey said. “We needed to ... make sure we had the required zoning and ... make sure the tax credits would be in place. ... We were working with a lot of departments on this.”
The goal is to have everything completed in 12 to 14 months according to Dover Development General Manager Rick Dover.
Until then, Dover Development plans to zone the property and present current designs to the public to receive feedback.
People can expect an upscale facility, designed like a fine hotel or country club, according to Dover.
Just a few short years ago, the old Knoxville High School building was considered in danger of being lost. Built in 1910 and designed by Baumann and Baumann (same as the Andrew Johnson Hotel), the building ceased use as a high school in 1951, subsequently becoming primary administrative offices for the Knoxville City Schools, and serving Knox County Schools in various capacities after the merger of the school systems.
During its tenure as a high school, it boasted several notable accomplishments and/or historical markers for our city. It was the first coed high school in Knoxville, serving as the primary high school until its closure, at which time West High School, Fulton High School and East High School were opened. Improvements were made to Austin High and South High at the same time.
Opening with just 646 students, enrollment eventually topped 2300. Changes were made to the original building, with expansions coming in 1914 and 1920. The doughboy erected in 1921 to commemorates the 117th Infantry Division soldiers which included a number of Knoxville High School graduates. The school won numerous sports championships, including national championships in 1930 and 1937. Interestingly, while W.J. Barton served as the school’s first principal, W.E. Evans served as principal from 1917 through the closure of the school.
The history of the building took a turn just a few years ago when a request for proposals was issued. In competitive bidding, an agreement was reached with Dover Development to redevelop the building as a senior living development. Misunderstandings of the type of development have persisted, as many have understood it to be a nursing home. The website identifies it as a, “lifestyle-focused community, rather than a health-care focused assisted living community.” Mr. Dover, in conjunction with Knox Heritage, opened the building to Knox Heritage members this past Friday night for a preview of what is happening there.
More than 65 years after the last group of students graduated from Knoxville High School, the 107-year-old building is trading its classrooms for bedrooms.
Construction of the Knoxville High Independent Living development is well underway, with the first residents expected to move in this November.
"It's going to be kind of like a cruise ship that landed on a downtown building with a 100-year-old history and hundreds, thousands of people still around that went to school here," said Rick Dover of Dover Development.
The apartments are intended for senior citizens wanting to live downtown, offering amenities like a piano bar and cooking classes.
Though the Farragut Hotel building’s name is changing, when renovation is complete the outside should look familiar to people who saw the century-old building in its prime.
A replica of the hotel’s historic front awning is going up, based on old photos. But as it’s transformed into a 165-room Hyatt Place, the interior has been taken down to bare concrete. Even the elevator is moving, with the new shaft placed further back.
Standing amid construction workers in the future lobby, Trenton Keelen pointed out where the new front desk will sit, to the left of the front doors; on the right will be a bar. The lobby will seat 135. Next to the front desk will be a Starbucks, standard in Hyatt Place hotels and open to walk-in traffic.
"The whole front will be a nice glass wall looking out into Gay Street,” said Keelen, who arrived in February to become general manager of the Hyatt Place Downtown Knoxville.
Old South High School is a landmark of South Knoxville. The skeleton of the huge brick structure sits next to the Sarah Simpson Professional Development and Technology Center which houses the Knox County Museum of Education.
On the walls of the museum are two glass cases with South High School mementos, jackets and letter sweaters. The school building next door has been vacant since 1991 and the last class to graduate there was in 1978.
Since being abandoned the school was sold by Knox County to a buyer who let the building deteriorate. The city council stepped up to rescue the structure, bought it for $190,000, declaring the structure “blighted” and then the city reinforced what parts of the building that could be saved. Councilman Nick Pavlis led the campaign to save the historic school.
A protective H-1 Historic overlay was placed on the remains of the building to protect it from being demolished.
Last year the city asked for ideas and developer Rick Dover offered to buy it with the idea of transforming it to senior living, much like Dover Development did with the once abandoned Oakwood Elementary School.
Tuesday morning Dover stood at the main entrance to the old building with Mayor Madeline Rogero, Pavlis, and Councilman Finbarr Saunders. He announced that although he hasn’t secured financial backing he has started to further secure the structure. Dover’s director of operations, Shea Ramsey, was already in the building and inspecting the facility as Dover thanked the mayor and the city council for saving the structure and accepting his offer to restore and repurpose it.
The windows of South Knoxville High School have been boarded up for more than two decades. Inside, bare girders cross collapsed roofs, allowing sunlight to shine into hallways and classrooms. Thanks to the efforts of Dover Development and the Knoxville city government, however, new life may soon be breathed into the crumbling structure, which has been empty since the school closed in 1991.
On Tuesday, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, alongside City Council member Nick Pavlis and Rick Dover, the general manager of Dover Development, marked the beginning of the structure’s anticipated $9.5 million transformation into a senior-living facility. Standing in front of a small crowd on the school’s front lawn, Dover outlined his group’s plans: 60 apartments, an Alzheimer’s care unit, and 35 permanent jobs.
Designed in 1932 by local architecture firm BarberMcMurray and finished in 1937, the 42,000-square-foot building has seen several different owners over the last 26 years. In 2015, City Council authorized the $190,000 purchase of the school, classifying it as a blighted property. Dover Development bought the property from the city for $1,000 last year.
“It’s such an intricate part of this community,” Pavlis said. “Thousands of people have walked through these doors and been educated here, and still obviously they didn’t want to see this structure go away. It’s just really meaningful to so many South Knoxvillians.”
The old South High School in Knoxville is getting new life.
“It’s a historic, iconic building that’s gone dark for a number of years,” Rick Dover, general manager of Dover Development, said.
The landmark that once housed classrooms will soon be transformed into a new senior living center. Dover Development is investing $9.5 million into the project. Dover said renovations will not be easy and the list of repairs is long, from rotted floors to a collapsing roof.
Dover said upgrading the existing building will take longer than starting from scratch, but that preserving it is worth the investment.
“I think these buildings really tell the story of who we are as a community and without them, much of our story is lost,” Dover said. “With them repurposed in neighborhoods like this, they will be a source of capital investment, jobs, revitalization and energy.”
Neither plans nor financing are complete for renovation of the former South High School at 953 E. Moody Ave., but developer Rick Dover couldn’t wait. Tuesday morning, along with Mayor Madeline Rogero and two Knoxville councilmen, he announced work had begun on the 1937 building.
Dover bought the 46,366-square-foot building from the city for $1,000, a deal approved in late October. That acquisition was essential halting South High’s deterioration, said Dover, general manager of family firm Dover Development.
"The building is fragile,” he said.
Its windows are boarded up, and most of the interior is stripped down to bare walls and floors. New support beams hold up what’s left of the roof.
Under a “very stringent” development agreement with the city, Dover said, he plans to turn the 2.5-acre site in a modest residential neighborhood into housing for senior citizens, much as he did with the former Oakwood Elementary on the north end of town.
“We think ultimately we will have 60, 61 units here for seniors,” Dover said.
Knoxville's Arts & Culture Alliance, in association with Cohen Communications Group, is looking for local artists who are interested in creating indoor artwork for the Hyatt Place Farragut Hotel. The building is located at 530 S. Gay Street.
The artwork will be displayed in the lobby and meeting room areas of the hotel.
Eleven works will be chosen and should reflect the following descriptions: A – 13’ wide x 12’ high – Topographically-inspired 3D mural or mosaic of Admiral Farragut.
B – 14’ W x 5’ H – Gallery wall of the history of Admiral Farragut through a series of portraits or naval details.
C – 5’ W x 6’ H – Map-like art element of Knoxville/Smoky Mountains.
D – 6’ W x 4’ H – Smoky Mountain inspired artwork for Ballroom Location 1.
E – 4’ W x 4’ H – Smoky Mountain inspired artwork for Ballroom Location 2.
F – 8’ W x 4’ H – Smoky Mountain inspired artwork for Meeting Room 1.
G – 6’ W x 4’ H – Smoky Mountain inspired artwork for Meeting Room 2.
H – 4’ W x 4’ H – Smoky Mountain inspired artwork for Board Room.
I – 3.5’ W x 5’ H – Highly dimensional/textural piece or repurposed landscape art that is inspired by location (map, geography, topography, etc.) for pre-function corridor.
J – 4’ W x 4’ H – Highly dimensional/textural piece or repurposed landscape art that is inspired by location (map, geography, topography, etc.) for pre-function corridor.
K – 3’ W x 5’ H – Modern or graphically-inspired Smoky Mountain piece or oil painting depicting Smoky Mountains to transition seamlessly into millwork wainscoting for pre-function corridor.
A two-year construction adventure has concluded with the opening of Northshore Senior Living.
Located at 8804 S. Northshore Drive near Pellissippi Parkway, the senior living facility celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting, hosted by Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce, Thursday, April 13.
“This has been a two-year adventure into what we think is the best senior living facility built,” said Rick Dover, managing director of Dover Development Corporation, Knoxville, which built the facility.
The senior living center, located on seven acres, includes 68 suites and apartments for assisted living and an additional wing for residents needing specialized care for memory loss.
Developer Rick Dover's projects in East Tennessee since 1993:
River Oaks Place in Lenoir City, completed renovation of 1908 high school in 1995 (this was Dover’s first historic restoration for a senior living facility in Tennessee), added 20 rooms in 2002. 71 units now. Dover moved his grandfather into this facility.
River Oaks Place, Loudon, Loudon County Hospital, built 1936, bought in 1996, completed 1998 as assisted living facility, added more space in 2009, three-story building with 40 units on six acres.
Lakewood Place, Loudon, part of the Loudon County Hospital, built in 1973, acquired in 2004, assisted living, 34 units and office space, completed in 2006.
Dover’s company in 2014 sold the above facilities to Gryphon Senior Living Group for a total of $18.3 million, according to property records.
Carmichael Inn, built 1810, served as stage coach depot, houses two restaurants with deck patio/catering operation, completed 2007.
Lakeside Village, bought property in 2005, construction began 2007 on 14 patio homes and boat house, sewer taps and utility hookups installed for another 26 units.
Alexander Inn, Oak Ridge, built 1942, closed in early 1990s, more than $9 million in restoration costs, $500,000 grant provided by U.S. Department of Energy, acquired 2013, completed 2015 as assisted living facility. Awarded in 2016 the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation. Only Tennessee project to garner this national honor that has been awarded since 1966.
Rick Dover’s $83 million renovation of the old Supreme Court Building will tower 11 stories over Henley Street and lift his redevelopment career to new heights.
It also will cap a long climb back from an abyss of bankruptcy and fraud that, three decades ago, left him guilty of six felonies and owing $19.6 million in restitution, $509,000 in back taxes and a $284 million civil judgment.
Some of the renovator’s tangled past has been known to local preservationists and city officials who, in recent years, have granted him tax breaks to restore several historic structures.
But he has never shared the full story publicly -- until now. Questioned about his background by the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee, Dover consulted his longtime wife, Laurie, after the couple returned from a Hawaiian getaway to celebrate her birthday, and she recommended he consent to an interview.
“She said, ‘At least no one will ever be able to accuse you of trying to hide it,’” Dover said.
Anyone seeking peace and quiet Thursday at the recently opened Northshore Senior Living facility in West Knox County quickly learned they were at the wrong place.
Nearly 200 people milled around the lobby with a vaulted ceiling and wraparound walkway on the second floor as managers officially cut a ribbon for the facility, which opened Dec. 26. The senior residents who moved through the crowds with wheeled walkers or a supportive arm of a member of the staff seemed to take it all in stride.
For developer Rick Dover, Northshore Senior Living was a departure from the type of projects that have garnered him local and national awards. The facility is new construction nestled into a hillside on a 7.5-acre site. The facility resembles a high-end mountain lodge.
Preliminary designs have been released for the Pryor Brown Garage as it shifts to The Residences at Pryor Brown. Things can change, so take these for what they are, but they are likely a close representation of the finished product we’ll see at the end of the project. The architect of record is Faris Eid of DIA and the drawings and renderings here are the property of DIA.
Along the Church Avenue, or northern, side of the building, the retail space will be kept, as had been previously stated. I don’t have square footage numbers, but from the appearance of the diagram would indicate four-to-five small spaces, which would be very helpful to downtown retail. Larger spaces, with their commensurate cost are often prohibitive to independent business owners. That side will also include the present garage entrance with a new garage door and sidewalk canopies will be added to the retail spaces. Windows will mimic the historic windows, but they will be modern and energy efficient.
Along the Market Street, or western, side of the building there will only be two entrances: a lobby entrance into the residential portion of the building and another garage entrance where the current garage entrance is located. I’d hoped to see a couple of retail spaces along this side of the building, as well, but from the diagram, it would appear the space for these was used for four parking spaces. I can only assume they were essential to provide all the residents a space, but it’s unfortunate that it couldn’t be worked out.
How would you like to live in the same place you went to high school?
Instead of the old chalkboard and rigid desks, the classrooms are becoming a living space for seniors. Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis shows us this remodel is giving people a sense of independence, including their own restaurant, bar and a driver.
If you went to Knoxville High School, the building probable means a whole lot to you.
Rick Dover from Dover Development says, "There's nothing more iconic than Knoxville right here."
For years, it was the only graduating class in the city with the final diploma handed out in 1951.
Dover says, "The interiors are beautiful, 16 foot ceilings, walls 2 foot thick, huge monument windows , press tin ceilings and hardwood maple floors. So it's a dream come true for an historic nerd like me."
Donnie Laurens remembers the layout of Alexander IV Elementary School nearly 50 years after he studied there.
“There’s where the library used to be, the principal’s office and the bathrooms,” he said in the dark, chilly foyer of the Ridge Avenue building.
Laurens said he imagined the auditorium would seem small now that he is grown, but “it still seems big.”
About 100 people gathered in the auditorium of the former school Tuesday night to learn more about plans to convert it into a senior living facility.
The historic building fell in disrepair after long stretches of vacancy. It was declared surplus property by the Bibb County school board in 2013. Two years later, it made the Historic Macon Foundation’s inaugural Fading Five list.
Dover Development Corp., a Tennessee-based developer that specializes in converting historic buildings into senior housing, has plans for a 60-unit facility to be managed by Suwanee-based Senior Solutions Management Group.
In a crowded meeting in Ingleside on Tuesday night, the neighborhood got to hear the plans for the Alexander IV elementary school directly from the developer.
The historic Alexander IV Elementary School is getting a new purpose and the crowd was told the plan.
“I played all the sports and things like that, and that was a big part, we had cheerleaders, all kinds of stuff. Square dancing in this hall here and things like that. It's just a wonderful place,” said Mickey Rivers.
Mickey and his wife Marilee went to the school in the late 1940s and early 50s.
The couple heard the Dover Development Corporation announce they are turning the school into a senior living facility and adding on an additional wing.
Dover Development’s plans for the former Tennessee Supreme Court building in downtown Knoxville include renovation of the structure and property into a trendy Aloft Hotel and a 230-unit apartment community. Restaurateur Randy Burleson would operate a restaurant planned for the former court chambers, and PetSafe would open an animal-daycare site. The building would also provide free office space for nonprofit Legacy Parks, and feature solar power and other clean-energy features developed with assistance from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The site would also include 8,000-square-feet of flexible meeting space.
The 527,000-square-foot development would represent an investment of $82.8 million, Richard Dover, general manager of Dover Development, says in a letter to the city that accompanied his proposal for the property.
A city committee ranked Dover’s response to a request for proposals for the project as the best of four plans to convert the 1.7-acre site, anchored by the courthouse on a city block between Henley and Locust streets, into a mixed-use retail, commercial and residential development.
Proposals for the building were submitted to the city by Knoxville-based Marble Alley, Dover Development, Commercial and Investment Properties, and Nashville-based BNA Associates. The city declined to release any of the proposals—which must meet city specifications for mixed uses of retail, commercial, and residential development—citing a statute that allows city procurement efforts to proceed in private during negotiations.
Prolific downtown developer Rick Dover, who is rehabilitating the Pryor Brown Garage and the Farragut Hotel, has begun negotiating with Knoxville officials to redevelop the former Tennessee Supreme Court building.
Dover Development was one of four firms to respond to a request for proposals sent out by city officials to rehab the 1.7-acre site that sits on the downtown block bordered by Henley and Locust streets and Cumberland and Church avenues. The block lies directly across Henley from the Knoxville Convention Center.
City officials will negotiate with Dover with the intent of reaching an agreement that would go before the City Council for approval sometime in early 2017.
Details of the proposal will not be made available until a contract is submitted to council members.
Its progress may appear to be slow, but a Dover Development Corporation spokesperson says the company remains on track to refurbish the old Knoxville High School building on East 5th Avenue despite taking on a massive $8.8 million project in South Knoxville.
City Council on Tuesday approved the transfer of the old South High School property on Moody Avenue to Dover Development Corp. for a largely symbolic $1,000.
Dover Development, owned by Richard Dover and family, is also in the midst of a $20 million effort to transform the old Farragut Hotel in downtown Knoxville into a Hyatt Place property. That project is set to be completed this summer.
Mike Cohen, speaking on behalf of Dover, says via email that the projects remain a definite go, and the Knoxville High project should be complete by spring. (Its original proposed completion time was late 2016.) Plans call for 80 apartments and amenities for active and independent senior citizens.
Dover bought the building from Knox County for $500,000 in 2014. Much of the work done so far on the old high school has been inside and therefore not visible, Cohen says. Unexpected problems delayed interior framing—much of it was rotten—but it is complete. Half the plumbing is complete, and half the wiring is done, he says.
The Knoxville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to allow Dover Development Corp. to construct a senior living facility inside the former South High School building.
The council approved the sale of the property for $1,000.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, who rarely interjects her personal views, implored the council to approve the project.
“This is something that for 25 years this neighborhood has been dealing with, and the last 11 (years) particularly as it slowly deteriorates," she said before the vote."This is the time to move. Now. It’s set up and is the right thing to do with this neighborhood.”
The proposed 60-unit facility would require an $8.8 million investment from Dover and would bring 30 permanent jobs. The project is likely to begin in the spring and be completed in 2018, according to Rick Dover, Dover Development owner.
Monte Stanley pokes around the gloom and ruin of South High School, trying to locate his old locker on a chilly and damp Friday afternoon.
“I had no idea it was this bad,” he says of his alma mater, where partially collapsed roof and ceilings hang over graffiti-marred chalkboards and old classrooms and dangling light fixtures. The smell of rot and water damage is everywhere—testament to some 25 years of neglect.
He can’t find his locker, but points out the old library, and the classroom where he was taught world history by a teacher he remembers by name.
The ruined interior of the 42,000-square-foot school is illuminated by flashlights and camera lights carried by journalists who just learned of the place’s new lease on life: City officials moments before announced the decrepit structure in a residential area on East Moody Avenue would be converted into a 60-unit assisted-living facility by a private developer.
If City Council approves transfer of the historic property — it was designed by Knoxville architect Charles Barber and opened in 1937 — for a largely symbolic $1,000 sum to developer Richard Dover at its meeting Tuesday, work to resurrect the stolid brick structure could begin by the end of the year. In an interesting historical twist, BarberMcMurry will serve as project architect.
Dover Development Corp. has proposed building a senior living facility inside what is left of the former South High School building.
According to Rick Dover, owner of Dover Development, the 60-unit facility would require an $8.8 million investment from Dover and would bring 30 permanent jobs. If approved, the project would begin next spring and be completed by the “second half” of 2018, Dover said.
The 46,366-square-foot, one-story building opened as South Knoxville Junior High in 1937. It has been both a junior and high school, but has sat vacant since 1991. It is located on a 2.5-acre lot.
“Hopefully we’ll return South High to a place of pride in the community,” Dover said. “I think it’s a jewel box.”
The Knoxville City Council will vote on Dover's proposal at Tuesday's meeting. His was the only company to submit a proposal for the building.
“Frankly, I don’t blame most people for not wanting to take it on. There’s a lot of red tape,” he said. “(But), what we have found when you go, and make those capital investments, is people will come and be inclined to support you.”
The Knoxville City Council will vote next week on allowing Dover Development Corp. to contract plans for the dilapidated former South High School building. Dover was the only company to submit a proposal for the building.
City officials expect to announce details of the project at a news conference Friday. The council will vote on Dover's proposal at next Tuesday's meeting.
The 46,366-square-foot, one-story building opened as South Knoxville Junior High in 1937. It has been both a junior and high school, but has sat vacant since 1991. It is located on a 2.5-acre lot.
News Sentinel photographer Caitie McMekin records the June 2 announcement that Dover Development will redevelop historic Pryor Brown garage. Photos of the state of the garage by Paul Efird in 2014 are included.
A deal worth $2.5 million in tax increment financing for the overall $10.5 million project to put 30 condominiums in Pryor Brown Garage received final approval by Knox County Commission on Monday.
The OK means one more residential development in downtown Knoxville where new development recently has been busy.
With most of the easy projects taken off the market, places like the Pryor Brown Garage have been gaining attention. The derelict building's roof collapsed in 2015. As one of the oldest garages of its kind in the U.S., historic preservationists wanted to save the property.
The project, developed by Rick Dover and Royal Properties, includes the condos, 30 parking spaces and 30 storage units with about 2,200 square feet of commercial space.
Tim Hill, a developer with Hatcher-Hill Properties, explained why the TIF is important.
"I think it's clearly a strong market, the downtown market, and the challenge now is the redevelopment opportunities that are left are the most difficult to do," Hill, who is not involved in the Pryor Brown deal, told the News Sentinel.
Without a 30-year, $2.5 million tax incentive, it's unlikely that plans to turn the historic but dilapidated Pryor Brown Parking Garage downtown into condominiums would move forward, a third-party firm has determined.
The $10.5 million project is the first to go through a new outside vetting process established after elected officials in April raised questions about whether tax deals were receiving enough scrutiny.
"This provides a level of certainty," said Bill Lyons, deputy to Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and the city's chief policy officer. "It gives the legislative bodies — council and commission — something more to have to feel comfortable with the vote."
The tax-increment financing package, or TIF, will go before the Knoxville City Council on Tuesday. Knox County commissioners will consider the deal during a work session today and vote on it next week.
Once the project is complete, the assessed value is expected to jump from $1.35 million to $15.5 million and would add $178,887 to the annual tax rolls, according to the application.
An East Tennessee developer was honored with one of the highest awards for historic preservation.
Dover Development won the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for their work on the historic Alexander Inn. Located in Oak Ridge, the Alexander Inn, originally known as The Guest House, was built during the Manhattan Project to house official visitors.
“This was the secret hotel where Enrico Fermi, Robert Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves, The Secretary of War, all stayed under false names in secret as the Manhattan Project came together,” said Rick Dover, General Manager of Dover Construction. Dover said he had known about the building for a number of years, but with help from Knox Heritage and the East Tennessee Preservation Society was able to source money through the federal government to restore the building.
Sue Cange, Manager of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and Kim Trent, President of Knox Heritage, accepted the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation of the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.
Rick Dover was not able to attend the award presentation, but is also a recipient of the award. This prestigious award recognizes the Department of Energy’s grant of $500,000 that purchased and stabilized the deteriorated Alexander Inn and Rick Dover’s $8,000,000 investment in our community to create the Alexander Guest House as well as the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance’s facilitation of the stabilization and engagement of the Dover Development Corporation.
We are so thankful to see the wonderful Alexander Guest House shining beautifully on the hill near historic Jackson Square and the nearby majestic Chapel on the Hill. What a tremendous difference this handsome historic development in our historic community has made. It is a huge source of pride! It is formally included in the legislation creating the Manhattan Project National Historical Park! Wow! Now that is something…
Rick Dover and Dover Development of Knoxville have won a national preservation award for their work to convert the historic Alexander Inn, a dilapidated, vacant two-story hotel in Oak Ridge, into the Alexander Guest House, a beautifully restored assisted living center
Knox Heritage, which played a key role in the project, announced the award on Friday. Also playing a key role was the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.
Dover Development won the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, or ACHP, a press release said. Members of the ACHP are appointed by the president of the United States.
It’s one of the highest awards given for historic preservation, the press release said.
Dover is the only Tennessee developer to ever win the Chairman’s Award, the press release said. It is the highest national award in which Knox Heritage and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance have ever been involved. The U.S. Department of Energy shared in the award.
Rick Dover knew as soon as he stepped on the floor at the Alexander Inn and it gave way under his feet that the restoration project would be a challenge.
"The floor was rotten," he said. "The place was in bad shape."
However, the $7.5 million restoration that his company, Dover Development, did on the World War II-era Oak Ridge hotel has netted the firm a Chairman's Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation from the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
It is one of the highest awards for historic preservation in the country. Knox Heritage Inc. and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance said it was the highest national award the groups have played a role in, and that Dover is the only Tennessee developer to have won the Chairman's Award.
This is the way preservation stories are supposed to end in 2016. Gone should be the days when historic or simply solid and usable buildings are destroyed when they could have another life. But we know those days are not gone. Preservation isn’t a single battle to be won; it’s a series of battles that cross generations, often being fought repeatedly over the same property. This is one day and one battle that ended well.
In June of 2013 I wrote that demolition had been requested for the Pryor Brown Garage. In September of 2014 demolition in favor of a full block of surface parking seemed eminent and I wrote a farewell piece to the garage. You can go to the second article to see additional photographs I took that day. Happily, I can report that I was wrong to have assumed nothing could be done. Through the good will and hard work of a number of people, the garage will be spared. Behind the scenes during this time Mayor Rogero, Kim Trent of Knox Heritage, Kelly Conley, a member of the family who owns the property, and Rick Dover have worked to find a way to save the building.
Rick Dover has overseen the redevelopment of Oakwood School and is currently underway with projects in the old Knoxville High School and the Farragut Hotel. He’s taken on some very difficult projects and, in some respects this one will be equally as difficult. Mayor Rogero made clear the city and an outside agency must approve the financing requests for the project to happen. Still, given yesterday’s big announcement, all concerned groups must be very confident they can make it happen.
The historic Pryor Brown garage, close to demolition a few years ago, is now slated for redevelopment into three floors of apartments over ground-level storefronts, developers and city leaders announced Thursday.
At a press conference at the 1925 garage, developer Rick Dover announced his plans for a $9 million investment to turn the upper levels of the garage into 30 residential units that will be packaged with interior parking, basement storage, and a rooftop patio, while the old storefront space facing Market and Church streets will be recreated. Dover says he’d like to see professionals like opticians in the commercial space, which won’t include bars or restaurants. The facade of the 76,000-square-foot garage will be preserved as much as possible. Dover says he will pursue a historic overlay for the building that will ensure its long-term preservation.
The four-and-half-story structure, located at the site of a livery stable of the same name, was built by expert horseman and transportation maverick Pryor Brown (1849?-1936) and is believed to be one of the oldest parking decks in the country. The deck was an early example of mixed-use development because it also housed retail businesses, whose storefronts are still visible.
The same developer behind the restoration of the Farragut Hotel building on Gay Street announced Thursday a $9 million project to turn the historic Pryor Brown parking garage into a 30-unit residential building with two to three street-level storefronts.
Developer Rick Dover and the garage's owners, Mike and Kelly Conley, said they have applied to the city for an estimated 30-year tax-increment financing deal, or TIF, worth about $2.7 million.
The project will be the first to go through a new, third-party vetting process after elected officials in April raised questions about whether deals were receiving enough scrutiny.
Knoxville's Community Development Corp. plans to use MuniCap Inc., a Maryland-based company that specializes in public financing and real estate development, to evaluate the application, city officials said.
A historic parking garage in downtown Knoxville is about to undergo a major renovation. The Pryor Brown Garage on Church avenue was identified last year as an endangered building that needed saving.
The city announced Thursday the building will be converted into a residential and retail area. The owners of the building say they were inspired by the building’s history and partnered with a developer to save it. The building was at one time targeted for demolition.
Imagine living in the same place that you previously went to school. Residents of the Oakwood Senior Living Center are living in a former elementary school. Knoxville High School is soon to be a living center for senior citizens.
"Senior living is something that our community needs, but it needs to be done in an authentic Knoxville way," said Rick Dover, General Manager of Dover Development Corporation in Knoxville. "This means we need to preserve and redevelop existing historic buildings."
Knoxville High School was originally built in 1910 and the last class that graduated from there was in 1951. The school board used the building as office space since closing, but it has become obsolete given it's age, according to Dover.
Dover said that the living center will have 90 apartments and will create 35 full-time jobs. The Center will also have a bar, restaurant, a wellness center and fitness center.
Knoxville businessman Rick Dover has built luxury homes, crewed a sailboat and worked for the largest commercial real estate broker in the world.
His career has taken him from coast to coast over the last 35 years. But it wasn’t until coming home to Knoxville that Dover found the work that he says makes him feel whole.
Dover, 62, is general manager of Dover Development Corp., a firm founded in 1993 that specializes in restoring and renovating neglected and historic properties. Many of these buildings are transformed into affordable senior housing, including assisted living centers that provide care for residents with Alzheimer’s and other memory problems
The company’s portfolio is a reflection of Dover’s passions – affordable senior housing, historic preservation, job creation and neighborhood restoration.
A few years ago, the old Oakwood Elementary School was headed for demolition, assuming the dilapidated building didn’t collapse on its own first.
Built in 1914, the former school was a dark hole in the Oakwood neighborhood, a modest community a few blocks north of downtown Knoxville and east of Interstate 275. The roof had caved in. Vandals had taken over the classrooms.
As the abandon school deteriorated over the 23 years it had been vacant, so had the housing stock on surrounding streets. It seemed there were more boarded up windows than residents in the neighborhood.
Knox County government had no luck in finding a developer willing to do anything feasible with the building. The wrecking ball was looming, but preservation advocate Kim Trent had other ideas. She knew a guy who could save the former school building.
As Historic Knoxville High School undergoes a transformation into an independent living facility, a salute to veterans is also taking shape.
Developer Rick Dover released details Wednesday about a new memorial featuring the Charters of Freedom to pair with the preserved Doughboy Statue at the old school.
He teamed up with Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Commissioner Jeff Ownby to make it happen.
"Behind the statue of the Doughboy and the obelisk, it will include Articles of Freedom, which are the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so forth, will be put on permanent display here," Dover said. "Hopefully with some additional parking and more pedestrian activity here will really activate this park as an honorarium for our veterans."
Dover is leading the Knoxville High restoration project, creating a 90-room apartment facility with a $12.5 million price tag for seniors. But he said this additional memorial wouldn't cost tax payers a dime since it will be privately funded.
The mostly empty Farragut Hotel building in downtown Knoxville is slated to open as a 165-room Hyatt Place hotel in about a year, those involved in the deal announced Monday.
The renovated nine-story building, which currently houses the French Market, will have a coffee-to-cocktails bar, 2,700 square feet for meetings and events, a rooftop venue, fitness center and other features, developer Rick Dover told elected leaders and other local officials gathered at the 530 S. Gay St. property Monday. His goal is to complete the project by summer 2017.
Dover said he had fond memories of the Farragut Hotel as a teen and was excited to get to turn it back into a functioning hotel.
"This was a great place for my dad and me to go have lunch after getting haircuts here in the hotel," he said. "They had a wonderful ballroom and used to have high school dances here. When I found out it was available, I grabbed it."
That was in 2014. The building, which dates from 1919, had sat mostly vacant for about a decade. Dover plans a $22 million project to renovate it into a hotel, which Merrillville, Ind. - based White Lodging will manage. The hotel will create about 80 full-time jobs, said Dave Montrose, senior vice president of regional operations for White Lodging. Dover said the project will create about 200 construction jobs.
It’s been a long and tortured journey for the former Farragut Hotel. Under utilized, forlorn and nearly abandoned for decades, its become a point of discussion in recent years. One ambitious plan to return it to a hotel was announced only to falter and fail. Rick Dover purchased the building and toyed with the idea of making it a combination hotel and very high-end apartment building. It was clear from early on that he wanted it to be a hotel, but he wasn’t sure that was viable.
A new hotel is coming to East Tennessee. Developers announced Monday a new location of Hyatt Place will be in Downtown Knoxville.
The hotel’s building was originally home to the Farragut Hotel, a 190-room full service hotel. The hotel was a popular location for visiting dignitaries and Knoxville socialites. It became an office building around 1980. The headquarters for First Tennessee Bank and law offices for Senator Howard H. Baker was located in the space.
Chief Executive Officer Rick Dover of Dover Development announced Monday the former Farragut Hotel on Gay Street will be a Hyatt Place hotel next Spring.
“The Farragut was a grand hotel when it opened in the 1920’s,” said Dover. “We are building off the hotel’s legacy by introducing Knoxville to the Hyatt Place brand, Hyatt’s award-winning select service brand. This hotel will offer smartly designed social spaces and spacious guestrooms, and guests can expect a beautiful facility and the latest in technology throughout.”
Chief Executive Officer Rick Dover of Dover Development announced today that the former Farragut Hotel on Gay Street in the heart of downtown Knoxville will be a Hyatt Place hotel when it opens in Spring 2017.
The award for “Redesign/Reuse” went to two very deserving projects, each of which I’ve mentioned here. Oakwood Elementary School (232 E. Churchwell) was falling in on itself when Rick Dover purchased it and re-purposed it to a senior living center. I wrote about and photographed it three years ago when the construction was just beginning. It’s an incredible transformation and has gone from empty, blighted property to a beautiful home to senior citizens.
The developer in charge of turning the old Knoxville High School into a senior living center has a firm assessment on the property tax bill, and it was lower than expected.
Rick Dover, general manager of Family Pride Corp, a partner in developing the property, gave a progress update at the site to Knox County's Industrial Development Board on Tuesday.
According to Dover, and Development Corp. President Todd Napier, the figures tallied for a tax agreement with Knox County included a high estimate for the property tax bill at $18,500 per year during the PILOT.
After the building was sold to the developer for $500,000 in 2014 it went on the tax rolls, but the assessment pegged the annual bill at $3,200 per year.
The new figure means the developer must head back before Knox County Commission to get approval for the lower tax bill under the 2014 tax agreement with the developer.
"We need to go back to commission and ask for clarification on this," Dover said. "And this is an effort of transparency; we want to make sure (they) know what's going on."
From a serpentine sofa below soaring ceilings, you watch a row of glassware on the bar catch the natural sunlight pouring into the room.
“Would you care for a glass of wine?”
That may not be the assistance most of us think of when it comes to housing and care for the elderly, but it’s part of what’s on offer at Oakwood Senior Living, a 62-unit assisted living facility built by local developer Rick Dover in a hundred-year-old elementary school in a historic downtown neighborhood of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Each apartment in the 5,000 square-foot center has towering windows and ceilings, unique dimensions and layout, and the blend of luxury retro and modern finishes and decor that are a trademark of Dover Development’s award-winning heritage restorations. Upstairs, oversize double doors open from a fine-dining space onto a second-floor balcony where Oakwood Elementary’s original schoolbell still gets rung. Below, a solar-enhanced vegetable and flower garden, walking trails, and a putting green fill out the footprint left vacant 23 years earlier and blend into the tended lawns, old trees, and tidy, postwar single-family houses of the surrounding blocks.
It has taken more than two years, but Oakwood Senior Living, a former elementary school renovated into an assisted living facility, is now open.
About half of the 62 apartments in the 55,000 square-foot facility at 232 E. Churchwell Ave. in North Knoxville are already occupied, Rick Dover, the developer, said Wednesday.
"There are about 30 full-time residents there and I think some more are moving in next week," he said.
The residents are living in what was Oakwood Elementary School, which had sat vacant for about 23 years when Dover, managing director of Dover Development, acquired the property in 2012. Knox County sold the building as surplus for $1,000, and Dover estimates his firm has invested about $8 million in the project.
At Oakwood Senior Living, residents have a solid, roomy building for their home, Dover said.
"It has a tremendously open and spacious feel to it," he said.
The facility has a lobby with a 20-foot ceiling and apartments with ceilings 12 feet high. Walls are about a foot thick.
The person of the night, however, was Rick Dover. Recognized first by Mayor Burchett for his work with the Oakwood Elementary School, now Oakwood Senior Living, he was later recognized as preservationist of the year. In addition to work outside Knoxville and the aforementioned Oakwood School project, his company is also restoring and renovating both Knoxville High School and the Farragut Hotel. Certainly these are not small projects and the are important projects for the city.
Old buildings and places, he said, give us a sense of continuity in our lives and with the lives that went before. They give us an opportunity to learn about what has gone before. We can learn of our ancestors and reference our own personal history through place. These places give us identity and community. We save them because of their beauty, their architectural achievement or because we consider them sacred – whether churches, cemeteries or battlefields.
We should also save them because it is economically and environmentally the right thing to do. When he spoke of sustainability, he included buildings of no historic import. Saving buildings avoids moving tons of debris to a land-fill, the polluting manufacture of additional materials and the transportation of those materials with fossil fuels. Often the structures are in walkable areas which avoids another building built in a place which requires cars. The argument was compelling.
During his talk in front of about 100 people in the historic and remodeled building in the Old City, Mayes summarized the series of blog posts he wrote that examined various themes of why historic preservation is important. The essays came from his research and interviews he did while in Rome after receiving the National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize in 2013. He said he centered each essay around an important theme he learned of why preservation is important to people. They included such topics as memory, individual identity, continuity, beauty, civic identity, ancestry, and economics.
He cited such human connections as the fact that many people become quite emotional returning to their elementary school, and that some people even feel a connection to a mall that was popular when they were growing up.
Dover Development Corp., the company behind the ongoing restoration of the former Farragut Hotel, expects to announce an agreement in the next 30 days with a “major player” to take up residence in the Gay Street property.
Rick Dover is excited to announce that the Alexander Guest House plans to hold its official opening on Monday, Oct. 26. What a great day that will be! Oak Ridgers can all be proud of the grand efforts begun by Patrick McIntyre, Tennessee state historic preservation officer, who advised the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management officials that they could provide a grant of $500,000 to the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance to purchase and stabilize the failing Alexander Inn.
This was allowable because the DOE could not preserve the failed facilities at the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant that they had hoped to be able to preserve. It is an alternative used when extenuating circumstances prohibit historic preservation in one place, but can assist preservation in a substitute area.
Dover Development Corp. then took on the task for which Rick had looked at a number of times and even attempted to “make the numbers” work, as he says, but could not. Yet he continued to hold out hope for years, hope of eventually being able to restore the historic old Guest House.
The historic two-story hotel was built as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II, and top scientists and dignitaries once stayed there.
But it hadn’t been used since the 1990s, and it had fallen into disrepair. The long-vacant hotel, which has been known as both the Guest House and Alexander Inn, was dilapidated enough that Dover fell through a floor the first time he toured the property, and woodchucks and bees lived inside. It became the victim of vandals, varmints, and weather, and city code enforcement efforts against the property started in 2005.
Jean Stone, 84, fondly remembers the Alexander Inn in its heyday when she attended club meetings, dinners and receptions in the historic, rambling old structure.
Now, she’s going to be living there as one of the first people to sign up for an apartment in the Alexander Guest House, a $7.5 million renovation and restoration of a World War II-era hotel from Oak Ridge’s early days as a secret city.
“I came and looked at it, and I liked what I saw,” Stone said as she listened Wednesday while officials praised developer Rick Dover’s two-year effort to bring the inn back to life as an assisted-living center. Wednesday’s event was billed as a sneak preview of the building.
Dover, head of Dover Development, has revived eight historic structures in East Tennessee and has acquired two other old buildings — the Farragut Hotel on Gay Street and Knoxville High School on East Fifth Avenue — for future projects.
“It is more than just an Oak Ridge landmark,” said state Rep. John Ragan. “It’s a national landmark.”
The Tennessee legislator was, of course, talking about what had been the old and abandoned Guest House at the Alexander Inn.
According to a release sent out this week to area media, the overall structure was in such bad shape the first time developer Rick Dover stepped inside he literally fell through the floor into the basement.
“But even then, I could see the potential,” said Dover, whose firm, Dover Development, has converted multiple old, abandoned buildings into beautiful state-of-the-art senior living centers, according to the release. “The building may have been falling apart, but it was on the National Register of Historic Places for a reason.”
Take an old, run down, but historic, building and make it into something useful. That was the idea behind the renovations of the former guest house at Alexander Inn.
When developers first walked into the building, they literally fell through the floor. After some hard work, a little elbow grease and $8 million, the building is ready to open as a senior living facility.
After sitting vacant for years, the old Farragut Hotel is officially under construction for a complete revitalization.
Developer Rick Dover bought the hotel in September 2014, and after getting the green light from city officials, he went in to clear out the old space.
“We’re in the ‘Let’s make a mess and see how much we can tear up’ stage,” Dover said. “The inside will be kind of an eclectic mix, very modern and very old, so we hope that will create some interesting space with some very high-end finishes that will make people want to come here and stay here.”
Dover said the outside of the hotel will look almost identical to the original, and the inside will resemble some of its iconic features.
The multimillion-dollar renovation of the historic Farragut Hotel at 530 Gay Street got a go-ahead vote from Knoxville City Council Tuesday night with only one councilman objecting. The project, by Rick Dover’s Dover Development Corporation, received approval to become the recipient of a $2.9 million loan if approved by the federal Housing and Urban Development. The city will apply and then loan the money to Dover.
The 18-month renovation is expected to create an upscale hotel and create 83 full-time jobs downtown.
The project was also granted a 25-year property tax break as part of the city’s Payment In Lieu Of Taxes, meaning that the site would continue to pay the current tax rate until the end of the agreement.
The parking of guests’ cars brought the objection because Dover, who bought the hotel building nine months ago, had initially requested free parking in the State Street Garage. A final compromise was worked out so the hotel would pay the current residential rate of $32.50 per space, per month for 160 spaces for ten years, at which time the rate would be prorated.
A Knoxville developer is seeking a tax incentive package to redevelop the historic Farragut Hotel on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. The $18 million project would return the nine-story building to its original use.
City Council will consider three incentive initiatives tonight. One would be a $2.9 million loan the city would obtain through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of Dover Development Corp. The second would be a payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement, or PILOT, that would freeze property tax payments on the hotel for 25 years. The third would be parking spaces for hotel guests in the city-owned State Street Garage.
While the long time-frame would delay the city’s return on investment when it comes to property taxes, the anticipated increase in sales and hotel/motel tax revenues, plus the beneficial use of a mostly empty downtown building, make the deal attractive. City Council should approve the incentive package.
The historic former Farragut Hotel, a prominent, nine-story building on Gay Street that has sat mostly vacant for nearly a decade, could soon be restored to its original use.
Knoxville City Council on Tuesday will consider a 25-year tax incentive package worth $7.7 million for a local developer to revive the property, making way for a national-brand hotel planning to move into the space.
The package, called a payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT, will freeze property taxes at the building’s current assessed value — that is, before the $18 million renovation — for the next quarter-century.
A new plan from the city of Knoxville aims to repurpose and resuscitate the Old South High School building, breathing new life into the badly dilapidated South Knoxville property that’s been vacant for decades.
City officials are hoping to attract a buyer with a vision and the will to transform the 42,000-square-foot structure at 953 E. Moody Ave., but exactly what becomes of the property remains to be seen. It’s up to a private developer to pitch a proposal that can earn support from city planners, City Council members, and the community.
More than two dozen people—mostly folks from the neighborhood and a handful of developers—came out to Dogwood Elementary School last week to hear about the city’s plans and offer ideas for the future of the property. Most locals just want to see it put to use again after nearly 25 years sitting dormant, but opinions vary on what might be best for the community. Ideas ranged from artist studios and dorm rooms to senior apartments and reopening the building again as a high school.
At least one developer already has an eye on the space. Knoxville-based Dover Development Corporation, owned by Rick Dover, is considering the property for the potential future home of a senior residential complex, spokesperson Mike Cohen says. The company already has two similar projects underway, preparing to open Oakwood Senior Living in the Oakwood Elementary building and working to convert the Historic Knoxville High School building on East Fifth Avenue into 75 senior apartments.
Walking along what was once the 100-year-old hallways of Oakwood Elementary School, Rick Dover admitted on Tuesday that he wasn't originally sold on the idea of renovating the dilapidated old building.
But when Dover, general manager of Dover Development, pulled up to the site at 232 E. Churchwell Ave., he committed to the project before getting out of the car.
Now, Oakwood Senior Living is set to open as a 55,000 square-foot licensed assisted-living facility with 63 apartments and a separate Alzheimer's wing.
The Historic Knoxville High School will soon become a senior living facility. WATE 6 On Your Side was given a tour inside the building Thursday to see how clean up, restoration and construction is going.
When you step inside Historic Knoxville High School, it’s like going back in time. The school was built in 1910 and the last class graduated in 1951. Rick Dover, the managing director of Dover Development Corporation, bought the building last year from the county for $500,000.
Just less than a year ago the old Farragut Hotel building was part of our local conversation. Developers from California-based Halo Hospitality Group had an option to purchase and said they intended to return the hotel to its former glory and purpose by building out 190 rooms with high-quality amenities. The developers called a large press conference and opened the building up for a large tour. I wrote about the proposal and included photographs here, while Jack Neely wrote about the proposal here, focusing on the history of the building.
It seemed too good to be true and Joe Sullivan said as much in an article about all the hotels being proposed for the downtown area. There were four, not counting the eventual hotel proposal for the Baptist Hospital site.. Two, along with the Baptist Hospital proposal, have since been abandoned and the other two haven’t begun construction.
In the eleven months since that heady presentation, the company attempted to make the proposal work, seeming to make some headway, but they subsequently released their hold on the property and it came back on the market. Others expressed and continue to express interest, but Rick Dover of Dover Development (formerly Family Pride) stepped in and purchased the building for about $3.7 million. The twenty-two year old Knoxville-based firm is near finishing their conversion of Oakwood Elementary School to senior housing. They are restoring the Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge and will soon convert Knoxville High School to seventy-six units for seniors and six artist lofts.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Developers broke ground Monday on a new, unique senior living facility in West Knox County.
Northshore Senior Living is a $12 million project that will include 68 suites and apartments for both independent and assisted living, plus an additional wing specifically for residents needing specialized care for memory loss.
The complex will be on seven park-like acres on Northshore Drive near Tooles Bend.
“This is intended to be a senior lifestyle community rather than a healthcare facility,” developer Rick Dover says. “Our residents’ safety and health are very much part of the design criteria and they are our top priority, but comfort and ambience come in a close second. Northshore Senior Living will be set up to look, operate, and feel like a country club.”
A new senior complex broke ground in West Knoxville Monday as the need for senior living facilities around the area increases
Almost by accident, he discovered a successful business model for him, when he linked his passion for historic preservation with the need for affordable, comfortable and caring facilities for seniors.
In the early 1990s, Dover had been traveling from Knoxville to Florida to take care of his grandfather, who was in his 80s and living alone. With the elder relative's doctor urging the family to look for an assisted living facility, Dover began the search but didn't like what he saw.
"I thought, ‘Doesn't anyone do a nice thing for seniors that is not over-the-top expensive and is not a dump?' I really couldn't find anything," Dover said. He decided to create his own about the time a Loudon County planner alerted him to the deteriorating 1908 Lenoir City High School building.
River Oaks Place Senior Living opened in that building in 1995, and his grandfather moved in. Now, almost 20 years after Dover's first senior living renovation, he is investing $50 million in four senior living developments that will double the number of units he has produced. His company has completed 248 units for seniors, with 273 more slated to open or be under construction in the next two years.
Dover recently changed the name of Family Pride Corporation, founded with his wife, Laurie, in 1992, to Dover Development Corporation. The company was formed with an early investment from Dover's mother, Lucy Dover, to do affordable housing rehab for young families or first-time homebuyers, so families could take pride in homeownership, he explained.
A decrepit historic hotel that had fallen into ruin is now close to being reopened as a retirement facility.
Years ago the Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge played host to world-renown scientists working to create an atomic bomb. The inn fell into years of disrepair after that rich history. History buffs fought for more than a decade to save the building. Now, in just a few months, the doors will open once more.
The guest house will open in March. The building will feature a museum paying tribute to the inn's rich history and association with the Manhattan project.
Recently Rick Dover, founder and general manager of the Family Pride Corp., which has saved the Guest House/Alexander Inn from demolition, spoke to the Rotary Club of Oak Ridge. This report of that talk was created by Carolyn Krause who was in attendance. It is included here in Historically Speaking in the spirit of keeping readers informed of the conversion of this iconic Oak Ridge historic inn. Dover is converting the historic Guest House/Alexander Inn into an assisted living and retirement facility while preserving the old hotel’s classic architecture and interior gathering places during rebuilding.
A sale of the Historic Knoxville High School building has been finalized.
Family Pride Corp. bought the property from Knox County for $500,000, in a deal that closed this week.
Family Pride, which recently bought the Farragut Building in downtown Knoxville, plans to spend nearly $14 million to convert old Knox High into a senior living facility with 75 apartments.
General manager Rick Dover estimated that construction will begin next year and finish in 2016. “I think Knox High is absolutely a unique opportunity,” Dover said. “It’s to me one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Knoxville and it’s a chance for us to do something that’s never been done, which is to build as hip of a community as anybody can conceive of right now but provide some services for older adults.”
Rick Dover has the lead role for the restoration and preservation of The Guest House at the Alexander Inn. He is also the General Manager of Family Pride Corporation and this is not their first successful restoration and effective utilization of historic structures.
Family Pride began their involvement in senior living when searching for an assisted living facility for Rick Dover's grandfather back in the 1990s. Finding a “combination of affordability, personalized care, and a cozy residential feel was nearly impossible” according to the company's web site when describing why Family Pride Corporation first considered senior living centers as a strategy.
The Farragut is a building Metro Pulse staffers have had a lot of opportunity to contemplate, just out the window, across Clinch Avenue from the conference room where we talk about the next issue. For years and years, longer than we’ve been here, that landmark 1919 hotel building, which once offered 200 guest rooms, has been oddly underused. It’s been about a decade since the old hotel quietly witnessed the revival of its taller neighbors, the Holston and the Burwell, reborn as upscale residential buildings. Its own block experienced one of downtown’s most radical transformations when it became home to an eight-screen cineplex, several trendy restaurants, an Aveda school, and a busy convenience/grocery store. Throughout that revival, the Farragut just stood there politely, with only the successful French Market Crêperie on its ground floor to suggest that human beings are sometimes allowed into the building.
The company converting a historic two-story hotel in Jackson Square into an assisted living center will receive a historic preservation award on Thursday. The award presentation will be held at the front door of the Guest House/Alexander Inn at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
“When Rick Dover and Family Pride acquired the property in May 2013, it was in total disrepair,” a press release said. “A $6 million investment will restore this beloved icon to its former glory.”
“We’re going to faithfully restore this building to its original look, from the soda-fountain bar in the lobby to the beautiful wide porch out front,” Dover said.
Rick Dover, General Manager of Family Pride Corporation was inducted into the 2013 Loudon Hall of Fame for the Business Leader category. He has also been recognized and awarded by historic preservation groups, government, and development organizations for Family Pride work on Loudon, Anderson, and Knox county projects. The Loudon County Business Hall of Fame is supported by the Boys & Girls Club of Loudon County.s company are investing $5 million into the Alexander Inn.
The Alexander Inn is the only historic building preserved as part of the mitigation. More importantly though, the building now has a viable use that will create 40 permanent jobs and have an estimated annual economic impact of $2.7 million. Rick Dover, General Manager of Family Pride Corporation, is one of our state’s most active preservation developers and we are fortunate that he and his company are investing $5 million into the Alexander Inn.
The $5.5 million renovation project was arranged through a series of agreements between Family Pride, the city of Oak Ridge, the city’s Industrial Development Board, the Department of Energy, Knox Heritage and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance. The transaction includes an easement that guarantees the building will be preserved forever. (WUOT.org)
Officials hope to convert Knoxville High School into housing for seniors with a proposal that calls for 109 residential units, creates 18 new jobs, and generates almost $480,000 in annual payroll, the Knox County Mayor's Office announced Monday. (WBIR.com)
A building on Knox Heritage’s “Fragile 15” list will be preserved as part of a proposal going before the Knox County Commission at the board’s October meeting, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced today. (Knoxville, TN)
Senior Solutions Management Group (SSMG), a leading provider of superior quality senior care across the Southeast, today announced that two 50,000 watt solar farms have been installed in two of its East Tennessee senior living facilities as a part of a green energy partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority. (Suwanee, GA)
SSMG and Family Pride Corporation installed the solar farms in an effort to become more energy efficient and environmentally conscious. The solar farms currently produce 18 percent of the facilities’ electric energy needs, and the company projects that this number will increase noticeably over time, as they continue to make updates to reduce the amount of energy outputs at the facilities. Such energy-reducing updates include installing new windows, upgrading heat and air systems, and switching over to LED lighting in the assisted living communities. Because farms will produce the same energy output for at least 50 years, and energy costs will continue to rise, the move to solar will prove financially beneficial for the company as well.
I recently attended a Knox Heritage members only tour of the former Oakwood Elementary School, built in 1914, and soon to be Oakwood Senior Living. It’s a little strange walking into a building that once house bustling elementary school students and now is home to fresh framing, plans hung on various walls. One of the former students from many decades ago stood in the center of what was once a gymnasium and reminisced.