Dentist frustrated about moving practice

Dentist frustrated about moving practice as building goes residential

Posted:
The Medical Arts Building is being converted from office into residential space. The Medical Arts Building is being converted from office into residential space.
"It's been growing very well every month, seen new patients, word's getting out that we are here," said dentist Dr. Marsha Hickey. "It's been growing very well every month, seen new patients, word's getting out that we are here," said dentist Dr. Marsha Hickey.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - With the redevelopment of downtown Knoxville we've seen a number of old commercial buildings become higher-end residential spaces.

But an effort along those lines has upset one business owner who rents space in the Medical Arts Building at the corner of Main and Locust Streets.

The 1930s-era building has long been home to a variety of medical practices and other offices but apartments are taking the place of those offices.

A tenant of the office building is a dentist and owns her own dental practice. She says being forced to leave the Medical Arts Building is costing her time and money and possibly her business.

Tim Gangaware has been coming to the Medical Arts Building to get his teeth cleaned for 40 years.

"It's extremely convenient. My office is in the old Millers Building just a block away, so I can walk right over five minutes and I'm here and back to the office again," said Gangaware.

Several generations of dentist offices have been located in the Medical Arts Building.

The owner of Downtown Dental Knoxville, dentist Dr. Marsha Hickey, began renting the space after another dentist left.

"It's been growing very well every month, seen new patients, word's getting out that we are here," said Dr. Hickey.

Dr. Hickey opened her practice in downtown Knoxville to draw in area workers, but in November Dr. Hickey received a notice from her landlord.

The owner of the Medical Arts Building explained in a letter that the building is struggling because demand for office space is depressed.

Doctor Hickey says she was given 90 days to move out.

"It was a very frightening thing because we were doing so well and we have patients to notify, we have equipment to move," said Dr. Hickey.

Dr. Hickey found a new location two miles away on the fringe of downtown Knoxville in Cherokee Mills, but she says relocating won't be cheap.

"It's going to cost $10,000 to $15,000 to move. He's given us a little to cover all of that, then we'll have to close for a week. We won't be able to see patients for a week so we'll have that loss of income so there's definitely a loss," said Dr. Hickey.

Dr. Hickey says the owner of the building is compensating her a small amount for her loss and she says the possible termination of her lease was included in the written agreement, but she just hopes her practice survives the move and patients go with her.

The Medical Arts Building leasing agent says only 44 percent of the building was leased as office space and that apartments in downtown Knoxville are in high demand.

He says renovating to provide apartments is necessary to take advantage of the market.

The leasing agent also said that many tenants found a new location for their business and seemed pleased.

All current tenants will be out of the building by the end of the month and the apartment units will be ready by the fall.

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