Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Monday, September 7, 2015

Medical Arts Building Knoxville

 Downtown Knoxville is graced with the Gothic Revival Medical Arts Building, constructed in 1932.  Kentucky architects Manley and Young designed the building for a group of Knoxville physicians.  Worsham Brothers Builders constructed the 10-story concrete block building, clad in terra cotta and spandrel panels.  Originally intended to be larger, with 13 stories and two towers, the design was scaled back, possibly due to the stock market failure in 1929 and the resulting economic depression.

A 4-story parking garage is attached, with an arch similar to the design on the entrances.  Doctors Herbert Acuff and M. M. Copenhaven "fell victum to the Great Depression" and entered bankruptcy only a few years later.  Metropolitan Life Insurance bought the building and occupied it for  8 years before it was sold to Arthur Pelzer, a Birmingham businessman who owned it for the next 40 years.
Pelzer's long ownership of the building was followed by a series of ownership swaps, with investors buying and selling the building.  Knoxville's early urban visionary, Kristopher Kendrick bought it in 1981 with plans to convert it to luxury condos, but that did not happen.  After the back and forth change in ownership, it was sold in 2012 and converted into 49 residential apartments within a year.  The ground floor houses 3 commercial spaces.

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