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Ribbon-cuttings and Construction Cranes: Stores, Hotels, Office Building Opening Along Gay Street 
Ribbon cut: Bliss, Tori Mason Shoes officially opens Nov. 14 at 445 S. Gay St.

Check out the terrific new retail space at 445 S. Gay Street, the new downtown home for Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes.

Congratulations to owners Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen. They opened on Saturday, and Tuesday morning, friends, patrons and City officials gathered for an official ribbon-cutting. The 8,000 square feet of retail space is more than double the room at the former Bliss and Tori Mason locations on Market Square.

However, the new storefront is just one of a number of business happenings along or near South Gay Street in the heart of downtown. Two chocolate businesses, a Starbucks coffee shop and a 50,000-square-foot office building are opening soon. And three new hotels are in various stages of development, with a Hyatt Place opening next month in the Farragut Hotel building.

Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes is open at a new location, 445 S. Gay St.
Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes is open at a new location, 445 S. Gay St.

Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes is open at a new location, 445 S. Gay St.


Walking around downtown and seeing cranes and crews pouring concrete? Wondering when the next ribbon-cuttings will be held to welcome new downtown businesses? Here's a rundown of some of the recent retail additions and construction projects:


Chocolatiers X 2

Kilwins, a chocolatier that was founded in 1947 in Petoskey, Mich., and now has 100 stores in more than 20 states, will be opening soon at 408 S. Gay St. This is the location where Cruze Farm Milk Bar operated a pop-up temporary store last summer.

Kilwins is adding its 3rd store in Tennessee at 408 S. Gay St.
Kilwins is adding its 3rd store in Tennessee at 408 S. Gay St.

Meanwhile, a block to the west, Knoxville Chocolate Co. will be opening by mid-December at 29 Market Square, in the space vacated by Tori Mason Shoes with the shoestore's relocation to the bigger Gay Street space.

Knoxville Chocolate Co. is relocating from the Candy Factory, and the Market Square location will offer both the business' kitchen and Knoxville- and sweets-themed merchandise. Knoxville Chocolate also will open a location at 141 N. Peters Road.

Knoxville Chocolate Co. to open on Market Square by mid-December.
Knoxville Chocolate Co. to open on Market Square by mid-December.


Tombras Group finishing its HQ

The former pea-green KUB building at Gay Street and Church Avenue had stood vacant for more than 16 years.

That will change soon, as The Tombras Group's $10 million restoration wraps up and the company's more than 200 employees move in - tentatively, sometime this January. The extensively rejuvenated 50,000-square-foot building will feature a new color scheme and modern, open design – rooftop and outdoor patios, large windows, high ceilings and a state-of-the-art photography and videography studio.

Work is progressing on The Tombras Group's new headquarters.
Work is progressing this week on The Tombras Group's new headquarters.


New downtown hotel choices

Three new hotels are planned in a four-block swath of central downtown: A Hyatt Place at 530 S. Gay St., an Embassy Suites at 507 S. Gay St., and a dual-branded Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn a block off Gay Street, at 210 Church Ave.

The Hyatt Place, in the former Farragut Hotel building, will be the first to open, possibly by the end of the year. This week, a crew hoisted and affixed the hotelier's sign on the front of the building. The hotel will feature 165 rooms, a rooftop bar and event space, and a street-level Starbucks.

The project is a $25 million investment that brings back into reuse a vacant nine-story building with a storied past. A grand hotel in its prime, the Farragut has claimed baseball Hall of Famers stars Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem and TV host Merv Griffin as its guests.

The new Hyatt Place is scheduled to open before Jan. 1.
The new Hyatt Place is scheduled to open before Jan. 1.


To the east, workers are pouring concrete and going vertical with the 144-room Courtyard by Marriott and 88-room Residence Inn on another long-vacant site. The intersection of Church Avenue and State Street was where the News Sentinel and Journal were published for decades, but the tract has been empty for  almost two decades.

The 166,000-square-foot hotels, a more than $40 million investment, will open in 2018.

The new Marriott dual-branded hotel is taking shape at Church Avenue and State Street.
The new Marriott dual-branded hotel complex is taking shape at Church Avenue and State Street.


The third hotel project involves converting a 13-story office and former bank building, the Conley Building, in the 500 block of Gay Street into an Embassy Suites hotel. The $37 million project calls for more than 160 rooms, a restaurant and a rooftop bar. The Embassy Suites is expected to open in spring 2019.


Sign on the Conley Building announces its conversion to an Embassy Suites by spring 2019.
A sign on the Conley Building announces its conversion to an Embassy Suites by spring 2019.

Posted by evreeland On 15 November, 2017 at 10:03 AM  

 
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