Most recently home to the Industrial Belting & Supply Company, a local developer saw the potential for this Depot Avenue building to be something big for the Knoxville community. With inspiration from national event spaces, the idea was to create a similar music and event venue for Knoxville’s downtown. The journey toward this renovation however did not come easy. After initial design for the venue started, the building caught fire, destroying two-thirds of the building’s footprint. Damages were accessed, revisions were made, and the project persevered.
Now completed, the design houses a 1,200 person event venue with an 8,000 square foot outdoor space, and adjacent catering restaurant. Flexibility is key to the operation of the venue. The planned adjacencies in the design allow for the space to adapt and accommodate a wide range of programs and events. The Mill & Mine hosts everything from concerts and weddings, to dinner and community outreach functions. An event is not the only thing that could bring you to visit the building. While the neighboring catering restaurant is a valuable resource to serve the event space, the restaurant was designed to also function as a boutique eatery on its own.
During the project’s construction, special attention brought the building back to its historic origin. Removal of the false facade revealed the authentic brickwork, and helped to inform the final design. Structurally, a concrete buttress was required to reinforce the existing exterior wall, and was incorporated into the design of the stage and restaurant back-of-house. On the interior, the existing large roof trusses and decking were cleaned, repaired, and exposed to showcase the original character of the building. Where unsalvageable, the roof and walls at the restaurant corner were built anew. The roof above features a sawtooth profile which not only allows light deep into the restaurant, but also accentuates the historic details of the building.
Although only a couple years old, the Mill & Mine has already woven itself into the downtown culture of Knoxville. The venue has become host to numerous community events, as well as one of the performance locations for Knoxville’s celebrated Big Ears Festival hosted each spring. The location has become an important part of Knoxville’s downtown growth, bringing large groups of people to the outskirts of the downtown area, helping stimulate more redevelopment to come.
The work shown represents a collaboration with Dewhirst Properties, Knoxville, Tennessee. Photography by Alyssa Nealon at nvelop AP.