urban_renewal (2006-24)

If you’re in the market for new digs, look no further

821 Chickamauga

Housing for Hipsters

by Matt Edens

"It’s tough being a hipster. Especially when your neighborhoods keep being gentrified out from under you.” Or so say the guys at Curbed: the New York City Neighborhoods and Real Estate Blog. They ought to know, seeing as their beat is perhaps the most gentrified piece of real estate on the planet. 

But, while the current going rate for a Brooklyn brownstone boggles the mind, Knoxville’s hipster ‘hoods aren’t immune to the same sort of sticker shock, albeit minus a zero or two. Downtown these days, it’s tough to find a two-bedroom, one bath loft for less than a quarter million. And it’s equally rare to find a similar-sized bungalow in Fourth and Gill or Old North for less than a hundred grand. 

The prices, however, are only the half of it. With every abandoned building that becomes high-priced condos, every storefront sushi bar, and every brand new Jetta parallel-parked along Luttrell, Knoxville becomes a little less of its scruffy old self: more yuppie, less Suttree . And that’s even before those damn developers lay claim to South Knoxville and start cutting back the kudzu.

Thankfully there are still some post-industrial parts of town where a man can sit, work-boots propped up on the front porch, trucker-cap pulled down against the low evening sun, and enjoy a long pull from his PBR tallboy with the proper postmodern sense of irony. So what if you’re actually systems administrator. You may have Bluetooth instead of a blue collar, but your shoulder sure gets sore shoving that mouse around for eight hours a day. You’re a working man, by God, and there ain’t no way you’re gonna live next door to a bunch of Saab-driving, single-malt drinking, cigar connoisseuring snobs.

Might I suggest this house in Oakwood/Lincoln Park, then? Just a short walk down Chickamauga from both the bowling alley and Senor Taco, the neighborhood’s not exactly yuppified. And, considering this three-bedroom, two-bath Victorian is priced at a low $119,900, it’s a long way from gentrified, too. But only as far as price. At less than $70 a square foot, this house comes loaded with hardwood floors, lots of stained glass and a gorgeous original staircase of beautifully refinished heart-pine, plus lots of other original woodwork.

Being a working man, you’ll no doubt appreciate the large block garage/workshop behind the house (perfect for that pottery studio you always wanted). But the best part may be how your downtown-dwelling friends will envy your big fenced backyard and offstreet parking (serves ‘em right, the damned yuppies….)

821 Chickamauga