KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee State Supreme Court building has now been converted into seven floors of studios and one-bedroom apartments, plus a rooftop. It’s called the Tribute.
“It’s 63 apartments, operated kind of like an extended stay hotel with 14 different floor plans,” said Rick Dover, the president of Dover Signature Properties.
After just opening a few weeks ago, every unit is already occupied and it seems it will stay that way. The Tribute is booked solid through the rest of the year and now there’s a waiting list.
“We have people here such as traveling nurses or doctors doing residency for a few months who have leased apartments for maybe one month or three months and may want to renew and stay,” Dover said. “Then we’ve got others staying here for as long as 12 months.”
As the new apartment on the block, the Tribute is experiencing what just about every apartment complex is facing, high demand.
“This problem was a decade long in the making,” said Hancen Sale from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.
The demand for rental properties is still at its peak. Effective rents in the Knoxville MSA were up 26% year-over-year in July, outpacing the annual rent growth of 14.55% nationally, according to Sale. Occupancy is now hovering around 98% – above the “healthy market” standard of around 94-95.
“We really have a large deficit of housing units that we need to bring into this market before we can start to say that supply-demand is in balance,” Sale said.
Seeing firsthand what it’s like to provide the supplies, Dover said it will not be an easy task to meet demand, and the Tribute only plays a small role in the solution.
“It’s not something you can just kind of throw up a building overnight,” he said. “Certainly nothing that’s as complicated as these are in these times where it’s really challenging to get materials and labor to get anything built.”
In addition to the Tribute, next door will be another new apartment that will hold 237 units. Dover said it hasn’t been advertised to the public yet, but will be seen on Apartments.com within the next month.