When people talk about “urban living,” I always think the condo where Alan and I live in the Cherokee Building on Church Avenue is a good example of that. It has tons of exposed brick and the drop-ceilings have been removed, meaning you can see all the heating and air conditioning duct work. It’s pretty cool.
But when it comes to urban living, our condo is nothing compared to the newly finished apartments that David Dewhirst and Mark Heinz are offering in the White Lily Flour building at 222 N. Central St., just across the railroad tracks from the heart of Knoxville’s Old City. My colleague, Amanda Shell Jennings, and I went on a tour there sponsored by Urban Land Institute last month. The building is now called White Lily Flats and contains 47 residences with retail space on the ground floor. Folks, this is what “urban living” looks like!
“We let the building lay itself out,” joked Dewhirst to a group gathered in the lobby prior to the tour. “On the fourth floor, what we call ‘the penthouse’ has a great view of industrial tanks. You can’t believe how many people ask us, ‘When are you taking the tanks out?’ I always say, ‘Those are AMENITIES!'”
The apartments range from studio units to one- and two-bedroom units. Rent ranges from $775 to over $2,000 per month, Heinz said.
Originally constructed in 1885 for the J. Allen Smith Co., the four-story brick building later became known as the White Lily Flour Building. White Lily flour was produced there until 2008 when the plant was closed. Dewhirst acquired it in 2012.
“It took us 14 months just to empty the building,” he said. “That’s longer than the construction!”
It was important to the developers to leave as many of the original details as possible. “Every time we try to do something creative, it takes 20 times longer than if we had just gone to Home Depot and bought everything new,” Dewhirst said.
Amenities (other than the industrial tanks!) include washers and dryers in each unit, parking, stainless steel appliances and a secure entry.
And the location. Dewirst predicts it’s an area on the rise. “In two or three years, this area is going to be as vibrant as Market Square,” he said.
There you have it. If you want to grab one of the remaining apartments, don’t dawdle! Click here to go to the website and see floor plans and contact info.