Design Review Board

Level 2: Addition to an existing building/structure


Staff Recommendation for Level 2: Addition to an existing building/structure

Staff recommends APPROVAL of Certificate 8-C-22-DT, subject to the following conditions: 1) securing any necessary easements for new windows on the north elevation; 2) securing any necessary permissive use agreements for rear elevation balconies; 3) the use of double-hung instead of fixed windows on the Gay Street elevation, with final materials to be provided to staff for approval.

Applicant Request

Continuation of a major exterior rehabilitation project for the Century Building, along with a two-story secondary entry addition to the left (north) of the building.

Exterior rehabilitation elements: on Gay Street elevation, replacement of all existing double-hung, one-over-one windows with new fixed one-over-one windows (material not specified). On the left side (north) elevation, new one-over-one windows will be installed on four stories, with some infilling existing window openings and some windows as new openings. The proposed windows are evenly spaced along two-three bays towards the rear of the building. On the rear (Fire Street) elevation, new double-hung windows will be installed, with Juliet balconies on interior bays of the top three stories. Some work on the rear elevation was included in previous reviews and has been completed.

Addition: A rectangular, two-story, flat-roof stair enclosure addition is proposed for the left side of the building, with an aluminum storefront system fronting Gay Street. The addition features two levels of aluminum storefront windows and will be clad in smooth-finish, precast concrete panels on the façade, vertical metal rainscreen panels on the north (side) elevation. The addition will adjoin the existing brick-clad elevator shaft on the rear.

Site Info

321 S. Gay Street (the Century Building) is a contributing resource to the Gay Street Commercial Historic District, so the Historic Resources section of the guidelines applies.

Some work on the building has already been completed under previous COAs (8-A-14-DT with minor staff revisions dated 4/10/18), 5-C-18-DT). The rear elevation exterior rehabilitation (including new windows and upper-level balconies) reflects what was approved in 2014 and 2018. Some of the new windows proposed for the north (left side) elevation reflect the initial proposal.

The proposed new windows for the north elevation meet the design guidelines as they propose a comparable relationship of solids to voids as original or comparable window layouts, and use the same pane configuration and overall size as original windows present on the building. Any new windows not in existing openings may require easements to be obtained from adjoining property owners. On the rear elevation, if the proposed balconies extend over the right-of-way, a permissive use agreement should be obtained from the City of Knoxville.

Guidelines for historic windows recommend that replacement windows duplicate "design, operation, material, glass size, muntin arrangements, profiles, and trim." The proposed fixed windows do not meet the design guidelines and double-hung windows should be selected instead. The applicant should specify replacement window material; wood or aluminum-clad wood would be appropriate choices for the building. The multi-light transoms should be repaired and maintained in place.

The mechanical equipment is proposed for a secondary elevation, towards the rear of the building. Screening should meet City zoning standards (10.3.T.1), which will align with design guidelines.

The proposed addition will provide a secondary entrance to residential units above the first floor. The proposal meets the design guidelines as it maintains the setback with the adjacent Century building, using floor heights and horizontal floor divisions to align with the existing first and second stories. The aluminum storefront will be compatible with the adjacent (modified) storefronts on the Century building. SOI Standards for historic buildings typically recommend that new additions be differentiated from the historic building but compatible with the materials, features, scale, and proportion. In general, the addition meets those guidelines; the Board may choose to discuss the proposed combination of precast concrete panels and vertical metal siding, and whether those materials are complimentary to the historic masonry exterior.


Amy Sherrill Benefield Richters

Planning Staff
Lindsay Crockett
Phone: (865) 215-3795
321 S. Gay St.

Double Black Swan LLC