The historic armory building on Ellis Avenue is being transformed into a “unique restaurant and entertainment destination” called “The Armory.” The building was previously the first armory built in Blount County. It was home to several businesses before being demolished in 2021.
“This property has been a little bit of everything. It was originally an armory, it stored arms during World War I and II. It later became a skating rink, and it’s been various storage and driver’s license facilities through the years. The building has been torn down and is being rebuilt very similar to what it was,” said Bart Fricks.
The new building was designed by Johnson Architecture, a Knoxville-based firm. According to a news release, the new design pays homage to the historic structure. The Blount County mayor said that the designs are almost an exact replica of what the original armory looked like.
The Armory is expected to open in Summer 2024. The total cost of the project is $10 million according to a release about the project. The building is owned by Massey Group and Bart and Marti Fricks will operate it. The Fricks also own and operate Jaboni’s Pizzeria in Maryville and Knoxville.
“We wanted to create something entirely unique in Maryville,” Bart Fricks explained. “The Armory will be a premier destination for food, drinks, and entertainment – and we are thrilled to be bringing back such an iconic and historic Maryville landmark in a way that the community can utilize and enjoy it.”
Randy Massey of Massey Group said, “I’m thrilled about the groundbreaking of the Armory Building, it’s been a labor of love and a true passion project for me. This facility embodies the hope and future growth that will transform downtown Maryville.”
The venue is expected to feature a rooftop deck, patio, and six bowling lanes for both indoor and outdoor experiences. The developers added that the venue is expected to help keep young people in Maryville.
Once it opens, the venue is expected to employ between 120 to 150 people. Alex Henry has been hired as The Armory’s General Manager. The Armory is currently looking for management team members to fill positions starting next year.