Reclaiming the past to build communities for the future

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Pryor Brown Garage Project

Location:
Knoxville, Tennessee

Status:
Opening 2018
(now pre-selling)

There are few buildings in the country like the Pryor Brown Garage in downtown Knoxville. Nearly 100 years old and built on the site of a former livery stable, it’s one of the oldest parking facilities in America. Named to Knox Heritage’s “Fragile 15” list of the most endangered historic properties in Knoxville, Pryor Brown grew dilapidated over the years, and the roof collapsed completely in 2015. But it’s been saved from demolition at the eleventh hour, thanks to a plan conceived by Dover Development and Royal Properties.

Pryor Brown was originally built as a mixed-use garage with attached retail space, and that’s exactly what its future now holds—except for the fact that where cars used to park, people will live in new condominiums. The plan calls for 34 new living spaces in what is already a vibrant—and in-demand—downtown residential area, plus two or three retail spaces at street level.

“We really wanted to do this project because the Pryor Brown building is one of the best locations downtown for residential use,” says general manager Rick Dover. “It’s on Market Street, which is quiet and charming, but still close to Knoxville’s theatre district and to Market Square.”

Besides the great location, the building’s solid poured-concrete construction also makes it an attractive choice for residential development. Working with concrete can pose some challenges for the renovation because it’s tougher to alter than wood, but the payoff is a building that will be utterly quiet for residents—unlike lots of historic buildings, which typically transmit high levels of sound through wooden beams and floors. Pryor Brown’s tall ceilings also will allow for indoor storage and parking for each unit.

The building will be restored to its original look, with awnings at the sidewalk level and all-new windows. “There will be tons of natural light,” Dover says. “The penthouse on top will afford great views of downtown from private patios.”

The condominiums will come in a range of sizes, and can be combined horizontally or vertically to increase living space. “We have lots of design flexibility,” Dover says. All units will have premium finishes: high ceilings, wide-plank oak flooring, European appliances and cabinetry, and marble finishes in the bathrooms.

The building will also feature extremely efficient lighting, plumbing, and mechanical systems, but the greenest part of the project is simply saving the building, which Dover views as the most responsible way to renovate the downtown area. “Reusing an existing historic building is the most sustainable form of development we can undertake,” he says.

Photos of the state of the garage by Paul Efird in 2014 are included in this article.

For more information on the Pryor Brown restoration, or purchasing one of the planned residential spaces, email Dover at Rick@doverdevelopment.net