(WBIR) The iconic Regas sign came down Tuesday, but only to get a new makeover.
Developers said they plan to change the name of the building to "Regas Square", repurposing some of the old letters into a new sign.
"The sign on the top of the building is being retrofitted to Regas Square," said Chris Martin, president of Knoxville Leadership Foundation, which is leasing the facility from the owner. "The sign isn't coming down; we're not going to throw it away."
The property will become a conference and training center for nonprofits in the region. Martin said he hopes this property will continue to honor the Regas name.
"The Regas name is an icon in this community. Mr. Regas has been very gracious and wonderful, his family is a wonderful family," said Martin. "We want to honor them and this. He's allowing us to keep his name on the building, so Regas Square will be in honor of him."
Regas Restaraunt closed its doors on New Years Eve, 2011, after serving customers in downtown Knoxville for 91 years.
"Throughout the building we hope to have all kinds of different memorabilia, pictures, and all kinds of different things that can remind us of the past and what the Regas family has represented for our community for a long time," said Martin.
The Gathering Place will also reopen as a public cafe.
"For coffee, lunch, breakfast kind of counter place open to the public, so it's going to be a vibrant place for the downtown community," said Martin.
Architectural plans were still in the developing phase, but Martin said he hopes KLF will move into the building by the first of the year.
"Hopefully in the next six to eight months we will begin to see some real things happen," said Martin.