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The Ely Building
[The Ely Building, at 406 W. Church Ave., is pictured on June 11, 2013.]
The Ely Building, at 406 W. Church Ave., is pictured on June 11, 2013.
Posted: June 12, 2013
By Josh Flory
It’s not often that hockey sticks are the catalyst for Knoxville real estate deals, but a downtown gem is one exception.
The Ely Building, at 406 W. Church Ave., recently changed hands in a $725,000 deal.
Eddie and Kelley Reymond plan to convert the second floor into a loft residence for their family, while offering office space for lease on the first floor and in the basement.
Eddie Reymond, whose business ventures include Eddie’s Health Shoppe in West Knoxville, said their downtown journey began when his son began working as a stick boy for the Knoxville Ice Bears.
The family would drop him off at the rink and have some time to kill before the faceoff.
“During that couple hours each time, we would basically just walk downtown and ... really got to fall in love with the whole Knoxville downtown, which we didn’t realize had gotten so different from what we had imagined it to be,” he said.
The family initially considered buying a building at 2 Market Square — home to tenants including Rococo Boutique — but another buyer picked it up earlier this year for $799,900. (That buyer also planned to renovate the upstairs portion of the building as a residence, while keeping its three commercial tenants.)
As it turned out, the Reymonds may like the Ely Building better. Eddie pointed out that it’s a short walk from Market Square, but they don’t have to worry about the noise.
According to Knox Heritage, the property was built in 1903 as a physician’s office and later was home to the Ely & Ely law firm.
In recent months, most of the downtown residential buzz has been generated by rental projects, the most recent example being Georgia-based Blanchard & Calhoun’s plan for a massive, mixed-use project on the South Waterfront that would include hundreds of apartment units.
The Ely Building isn’t the first deal of its kind, though.
In 2011, local dentist Buzz Nabers bought a building at 304 S. Gay St. to house his dental practice and for use as a family residence.
Last year Kevin and Melinda Grimac bought the Arcade Building, at 618 S. Gay St. The couple is nearing completion of a second-floor residence in that property.
(For what it’s worth, Melinda Grimac is a residential broker with Alliance Sotheby’s, and had the listing on the Ely Building.)
Will the trend continue? It’s hard to say. Throw a couple of hockey sticks into the mix, though, and surely anything is possible.