Downtown mailbag: What's going atop this skyscraper and when is Church & Charles opening?
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This week, the Knox News Urban Knoxville team looked into reader questions about downtown music venue policies, the Tennessee Amphitheater, a new skyscraper addition and a delayed restaurant.
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What is going on top of First Horizon tower?
First Tennessee bank rebranded to First Horizon in 2019, and with that switch came a new logo.
That logo and company name will be added to the new cubic structure built on top of the First Horizon building at 800 S. Gay St., the tallest building in downtown. That process will take place throughout March.
A crane recently shut down parts of Gay Street to build the structure, which is 39 feet high and 36 feet wide on each side. The sign portion will be 24 feet high, First Horizon spokesperson Courtney Potts told Knox News.
While the crane will not return to Gay Street, Potts said, "it should still be a pretty dramatic installation."
"The previous sign that was on top of the building was a little smaller and was just of our First Tennessee logo," Potts said. "We believe the structure is as big as our commitment to the Knoxville community."
Why isn't Tennessee Amphitheater used more?
Like other areas at World's Fair Park, the Tennessee Amphitheater can be rented for events. The cost generally is $600 per day or $400 for nonprofits.
The amphitheater was used frequently until construction of the Knoxville Convention Center closed the venue in 1998, according to the World's Fair Park website. It reopened for a short time before closing in 2002 due to structural issues. It reopened again in 2007.
It wasn't until recently that people started rethinking the value of World's Fair Park. COVID-19 increased the need for large outdoor gathering spaces, and recent renovations to the performance lawn made the park more appealing for event organizers.
Its capacity also could be a factor. Local artists might have a hard time filling 1,000 seats.
Touring acts, on the other hand, are more likely to perform at full-time music venues with advanced specs and staff members experienced in hosting shows.
One of the best potential uses for the amphitheater is hosting festivals. The Big Ears schedule includes a handful of amphitheater performances.
And while we're talking about the amphitheater, can we all agree the awning could benefit from a deep clean?
Have questions about what's happening in and around downtown Knoxville?
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What are the latest COVID-19 protocols at Knoxville music venues?
COVID-19 protocols have changed since Knoxville music venues came together in August to require vaccines or negative test results for shows.
The Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre and Mill & Mine are now allowing performers to implement their own COVID-19 policies.
For example, Blue Man Group will require face coverings and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for its performances May 13 and 14 at the Tennessee Theatre.
Check with each venue for guidelines related to upcoming concerts.
What do you know about a potential restaurant called Church & Charles?
Knox News reported in 2019 that Chef David Rule, a Blackberry Farm alumnus, was planning to bring a restaurant to the First Century Bank building at 625 Market St.
The building is expected to welcome Church & Charles, a restaurant that would be owned by real estate firm Trotter & Company.
President John Trotter told Knox News construction has been delayed, and the opening timeline has not been determined.
"At Church & Charles, Festina Lente is our maxim," according to the Trotter & Company website. "We balance our excitement for the highest quality ingredients, seasonal gems, and regional offerings with patient culinary techniques and warm hospitality."
"Festina lente" is Latin for "make haste slowly."
Ryan Wilusz: Knoxville's downtown explorer and urban reporter
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Downtown Knoxville mailbag: What's going on top of First Horizon tower?