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Historic Emporium Bldg, nearby lot sell for $24.75 million

The Emporium dates to 1898 and houses the Knox Arts & Culture Alliance among other tenants.
Credit: WBIR
The Emplorium Building on South Gay Street has sold.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The 19th century Emporium Building on South Gay Street has sold along with a nearby back parking site for an eye-popping $24.75 million.

Boghani Properties LLC, a Knoxville-based business, this week bought the regal 1898 stone building at 100 S. Gay St. along with the parking property owned by developer David Dewhirst at 121 State St.

Dewhirst Properties developed the Old City building and an entity tied to developer Dewhirst was the seller. Emporium tenants include the Knox Arts & Culture Alliance and loft residents.

The alliance tweeted about the sale Wednesday -- assuring followers the organization wasn't going anywhere.

Liza Zenni, the alliance's executive director, said the group had seven years left on its lease.

"Obviously, the Arts & Culture Alliance being here has added to the value of the building," she said.

Zenni said the alliance has major plans in the works for the underground sidewalk tucked below Gay Street as well as the Fire Street level.

"But we have to make sure we get a good sense of this new owner," she said.

Zenni said a board member had alerted her the sale was in the works. She praised the relationship the group has had with Dewhirst over the last 22 years.

The parking property amounts to a little less than an acre, according to Knox County Register of Deeds Nick McBride.

Credit: KGIS
Parking site at 121 St. St. as shown on KGIS map.

Will Sims of Oliver Smith Realty teased the deal out earlier this week on social media.

Credit: WBIR
Emporium Building detail

Some $20 million is being borrowed to cover the costs, county records show.

Boghani is no stranger to high-profile deals.

This year it sold a Shell station on the Cumberland Strip for $10.5 million, a gain of $8.25 million from its purchase price in 2015. Shortly after, it used the money to buy two properties -- including a building in the 200 block of Gay Street that houses Babalu, Kilwin's and Maple Hall.  

Credit: WBIR
The Emporium started as a furniture company.

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