Design Review Board

Level 1: Minor alteration of an existing building/structure


Staff Recommendation

Staff recommends approval of 3-A-24-DT as submitted.

Applicant Request

Exterior rehabilitation project, including brick cladding removal, window replacement, and installation of new aluminum composite panel cladding.

On the interior bays, the soldier-course brick dividing the windows will be replaced with aluminum composite panels. The existing windows will be replaced with aluminum storefront windows. At the ground level on the north and east elevations, the storefront windows are proposed to be enclosed with aluminum composite panel cladding.

Site Info

500 W. Summit Hill Drive is not a historic building; it was constructed in approximately 1980. Removal of the exterior brick cladding elements which contribute to water intrusion, and replacement with aluminum composite panels, is appropriate. Replacement of the existing, non-historic, single-light windows with new aluminum storefront windows of similar size and fenestration pattern meets the guidelines.

Typically, the design guidelines discourage first-floor uses without pedestrian traffic and removing transparent rhythms of entrances and windows, and encourage all windows at the ground level to be clear. The building is owned by Knox County, which has leased space to an "information technology center" since 2021. The IT center houses a "data center" on the ground floor, and the application notes that transparent glazing into the data center is a "security risk." The ground-level windows are recessed from the primary building elevation and have never featured doors accessible to the pedestrian. The building's north elevation ground level has been surrounded with tall trees, adjacent to the windows, since at least 2007. The existing 1980s-style dark-tinted glass does not provide transparency.

While first-floor spaces without a public use and the removal of ground-level transparency does not meet the guidelines, in the opinion of staff, the enclosure of the ground-level windows is appropriate for this specific instance. The Board should discuss modifications to the building's ground level.


Cory Griffis MBI Companies

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: 865-215-3795
500 W. Summit Hill Ave.

United States of America