822 N. Bertrand St. | 756 sq. ft. | 2 bdrm/1 bath | $79,900
2333 Jefferson Ave. | 994 sq ft. | 2 bdrm/1 bath | $34,900
Contact: Jennifer Montgomery | Coldwell Banker: 693-1111
“There are 10 full-service restaurants on Market Square, not counting bars and ice-cream places,” observed Jack Neely in last week’s issue. Ten years ago, that would have struck many Knoxvillians as crazy talk. Back then, the arguments over downtown revitalization weren’t as much a matter of how best to go about it as why bother at all? It’s amazing, really, how quickly things have gone from gripes that “nobody goes downtown” to objections over the size of the crowds that do.
The surprising progress isn’t confined to downtown proper, either. As remarkable as 10 full-service restaurants on Market Square may sound, who could have predicted the recent arrival of places like Glowing Bowl and Veg-O-Rama out on North Central Street? It’s yet more proof that commercial revitalization requires a critical mass of housing to support it. Both Downtown North and downtown proper required a certain number of residential rooftops in place before retail and restaurants would take hold.
The work is a long way from done, however. Downtown North is still in its infancy. The South Waterfront is mostly pretty renderings rather than bricks and mortar. And there are even, as the redevelopment saga of 37 Market Square reveals, rundown, vacant buildings left among what, overall, amounts to downtown’s biggest revitalization success story.
In short, there’s plenty of fixer-uppers for someone looking to invest in Knoxville’s center city. And some, particularly in places like Parkridge, remain surprisingly affordable.
The neighborhood’s seen considerable investment of late. Drive down Washington and Jefferson, particularly in the blocks closest to downtown, and you’ll see lots of stunningly restored Victorians, cottages, and bungalows. But there are still lots of opportunities out there.
Take these two bungalows a few blocks from one another. The one at the corner of Glenwood and Bertrand has had some recent interior upgrades, but could still use some exterior work. The other, over on Jefferson, has lots of original Arts and Crafts style features intact—three-over-one windows, brick piers supporting the porch, and brackets at the eaves—but needs a full renovation. In each case, the end result would be a charming bungalow that can stack up against any in the neighborhood.
Either one you choose, buying a house in Parkridge brings the neighborhood that much closer to the next step: filling its “downtown,” down at the corner of Washington and Winona, with a few funky restaurants and shops.