Letter: The Color of Homberg

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602 S. Gay Street
2nd Floor
Knoxville, TN 37902

I’ve been renting office space in the Homberg area off and on since the early 1990s and have come to the conclusion that there must be a secret decree hidden away in some real estate developer’s file cabinet mandating that all buildings in Homberg be painted beige and brown. It’s as if the Army Corp of Engineers was somehow put in charge of selecting a color scheme for the Homberg area way back in the 1960s.

My office has a clear view of the new Anthropologie store that’s going into a building which has been vacant for the last seven or eight years. I have watched with excitement as this dilapidated quonset hut-shaped structure, which actually caught on fire in 2006, is slowly being reborn before my very eyes into what will surely be a vibrant retail shopping destination. With a strikingly modern facade of meticulously distressed green, natural wood and interesting architectural features, the new Anthropologie store is proving to be a real breath of fresh air to the Homberg area. Yet amazingly, the back half of the building has been painted…(wait for it) BEIGE AND BROWN! Can someone please explain why??

In addition to the front of the Anthropologie building, there are some notable exceptions to the brown and beige color “mandate.” But these exceptions are far outnumbered by building after building that seems to have been painted in accordance with some government-issued beige and brown color swatches. I can’t help but think introducing some “diversity of color scheme” would be an easy way to visually liven up the Homberg area which, who knows, might just be poised to become the heart of Knoxville’s “Midtown.”

I personally believe Homberg has tremendous potential to become a bustling retail, office and perhaps even residential area. Lately there’s been talk of developing green spaces and sidewalks. Someone recently even suggested the idea of connecting Homberg with Sequoyah Hills via a greenway that would cross the railroad tracks that parallel Homberg Drive. I think the possibilities for developing this area are very exciting and seemingly limitless. And if this Homberg Renaissance should somehow actually come to pass then please God, do not let them paint it all beige and brown.

Phil Hardison

Knoxville

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Comments » 1

BarbaraPelot writes:

Loved your article! So pleased to see the revitalization taking place. As the former City Councilman representing the Bearden area I, along with many others have worked for years to see this area progress as it has the past few years, and Homberg is hopefully on the way back! Interesting observation about its "beigeness" -- hope your comments catch steam and others will join Anthropologie in painting it "exciting"!

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