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New event center to be built in East Knoxville named 'Grandiflora'

Grandiflora's design is meant to connect different eras of history, and the main space will focus on magnolia trees.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A new event center is expected to be built in East Knoxville soon, named "Grandiflora."

It will be located off Magnolia Avenue at the old site of the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle, which was sold to Lawson Partners LLC last year, according to reports and Knox County records.

According to Grandiflora's plans, the main build is expected to be preserved with additions built onto it. However, the current gym and school buildings will be demolished for more parking, a community garden, the main home and a guest house.

The event space is designed to celebrate East Knoxville's history. The main venue space's design will focus on magnolia trees, with an adjacent space designed around jazz music. 

"A combination of old-world charm with a modern twist can be found in the courtyard garden. Material connections between spaces will provide a subtle, holistic aspect to the design," the site's plans say. "Each space will be carefully crafted to produce a quality of unparalleled experience."

Credit: MHM

Magnolia Avenue was originally created to link Chilhowee Park to the downtown Knoxville area in the late 1880s, and thousands of visitors would roll by the pristine buildings that adorned it. The street was not named after its landscaping, though. Instead, it was named after a woman who outlived her husband and watched the area grow around her — Magnolia Branner. 

The main house of Grandiflora will include a simple arrangement of plants at the front of the house with boxwoods and ground cover, facing East Fifth Avenue. It will include a paver courtyard accommodating four cars, and a gated lawn area for dogs.

Trees will be used to provide shade and separate it from the guest house, which will have an asphalt driveway and an aluminum fence around both it and the main house.

Credit: MHM

Developers said the space will be able to host weddings, concerts, corporate events, nonprofit events and community gatherings. They said they wanted to provide East Knoxville with a "beautiful space for a variety of events."

They also said they spent around $2.25 million to purchase the space, and expect to spend around $20 million developing it.

"A project like this has always been a dream of Phil’s, so when the church was looking to sell and move, Phil knew exactly what he wanted to do with it. East Knoxville is one of the most underdeveloped parts of town, so we’re excited for this venue to bring attention and new life to this wonderful neighborhood," said Allie Welch, the manager of the event space.

She also said that they are not yet booking events. The event space will be located at 2439 East Magnolia Avenue.

Credit: MHM

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