End of an Era – The Kendrick Legacy
Monday, February 18th, 2013
By: Steve Goldman, CCIM
By Steve Goldman, CCIM
Feb. 18, 2013
Kristopher Kendrick was well-known for his pioneering historic preservation successes throughout Knoxville’s downtown. I am proud to have been co-listing broker, successfully marketing and selling all six of their historic commercial properties to new owners over the past five years—all during the Great Recession. It’s the end of an era for the Kendrick family and these grand old buildings and an end of an era for myself assisting with their disposition. Fortunately for Knoxville, the Kristopher Kendrick Legacy lives on in these six beautiful, historic properties that he rescued and preserved.
My work with the Kendrick family started in 2007 when I made an old-school cold call to the family, asking if I could list their 5-story student housing property in the Maplehurst neighborhood.
At the time, Kristopher was in poor health and living at the Hotel St. Oliver. He passed away in 2009.
The trustees for Kristopher’s trust listed each property with us over time. The family asked that I start by listing the former Lord Lindsey nightclub on Hill Avenue which had been vacant for some time.
At the time, I was with Coldwell Banker Commercial and I decided to team up with my friend and fellow agent, Tim Duff. We continued to co-list each of the properties despite my later changing companies. We closed on the first sale of the Kristopher Apartments on June 25, 2009; and on the last sale, of the former Patrick Sullivan’s Saloon building, on January 30, 2013.
As we do with all listings, we treated each property as a unique challenge, adjusting our research and marketing efforts to fit the property. With each of the historically-significant Kendrick properties, we invested a lot of time building the property presentation/marketing package. It included many photos and detailed physical descriptions while including our research into the history of each property and the economic assistance available. We carefully collected maps to confirm the economic or historic districts so that we could correctly inform the potential buyers. In each case, we cited our sources and provide contact names and telephone numbers.
One example of a unique challenge had to do with visible mold at the Lord Lindsey. We did not want the owners to lose a single prospect to any unfounded concerns. We recommended that a professional be brought in, at the owner’s expense, to inspect the property for mold and to make a formal written report. We could then use the report to take corrective action, if needed, and, in any event, to give to our prospects. Fortunately, we were dealing with sophisticated sellers who understood why we made this recommendation and we moved forward with engaging the consultant. Fortunately, the expert concluded that there was no cause for concern and that the mold could be readily remediated.
Other recommendations to which the owners agreed were to order a detailed ALTA survey and a title report. Like the mold report, the seller ordering these is not “local custom”. Fortunately, the sellers understood that providing such reports to a buyer before entering into a contract frequently avoids the buyer “retrading” which is renegotiating the price during the due diligence period. This strategy can work because we have made proactive disclosure and thereby taken away these excuses for a retrade.
By the way, the ALTA Survey did, in fact, show that there were some encroachments into the property which were not readily correctable—but they also were not “material”—they weren’t really going to be important defects to the day-to-day usage of the property. We were glad to be able to disclose these issues in advance and avoid a potential crisis (real or contrived), which often happens when the buyer and his lender discover these defects in the days before a transaction is supposed to close.
One of our goals when listing a property is to make it easy for a prospect to become excited about a property and not to stress over the details. We achieve this when possible by doing some of the due diligence work for them.
Marketing frequently gets underway as soon as the core research is complete. Our marketing efforts on behalf of the Kendrick Estate included the usual roadside signs and listings on the MLS & Loopnet. But that was just the start: Our extensive marketing package was available in print or PDF format; we posted YouTube Videos; and, by informing the media, we enjoyed both print and television coverage for several of the Kendrick properties. We participated in an open house for Knox Heritage at the Patrick Sullivans property. We even got some unexpected marketing assistance from a satirical video professionally produced for a Knox Heritage fund-raiser.
Finally, using our proprietary database of over 10,000 contacts plus new custom lists of owners in the CBD (Central Business District), we used a postcard, email and personal phone call campaign to get the word out and generate interest in each property.
We never know from where the buyer for the property will come, so we went all out to widely expose each property. In the case of The Oliver Hotel, the New York City buyer with Knoxville ties read a newspaper blog post about the property, flew in, and toured the property with me on a Sunday. Other buyers came from our personal phone calls or other agents. We know it is the right thing to do to market heavily — even though these transactions occurred throughout the Great Recession, we were able to bring multiple offers to the sellers on four of the six properties.
Along the way, my kids helped explore the buildings and look for ghosts; my wife and I responded to a midnight police call for a break-in and small fire. After one buyer’s lender backed off the loan, I made the introduction to the lender who completed the acquisition and renovation loan. Tim and I helped the Kendrick family deal with everything from arranging heating system maintenance, to broken water pipes, to public insurance adjusters while providing advice and reassurance for five fascinating years! What a real joy it has been to see renovations completed and a new useful life brought, already, to most of the buildings.
All in all, listing and marketing the Kendrick properties was a terrific adventure. Tim and I are honored to have been a part of placing the properties with the next generation of caretakers of these important, historic properties.Back to Blog