Candy Factory condos open for tour, go up for auction
The Candy Factory at Knoxville's World's Fair Park re-opened to the public Saturday for the first time since developers bought the building from the city and moved in earlier this year.
Now, developers are trying to sell others on the idea of living there.
The Candy Factory Lofts aren't quite ready for residents to call "home sweet home," but potential bidders can count on having one irresistible neighbor.
"A lot of people lately have been coming in and saying, 'You're here!,'" Chocolate Factory employee Hilary Hopper explained. "So yeah, we're here. We're not going anywhere"
The South's Finest Chocolate store, know to many as the Chocolate Factory, just sealed a deal to buy the space it's rented for more than a decade.
It will stay open while construction crews turn the rest of the historic building into 47 one-, two- and three- bedroom condos.
By this time next year, developers promise buyers exposed brick, granite counter tops and a world-class lawn they won't have to mow.
Interested parties just look out the window at World's Fair Park and imagine the rest.
"At first I was just curious to see what was going on down here," potential bidder Judy Newcomb explained. "I just think it'd be a neat place to have an apartment or condo. You'd be so much a part of downtown. You go out on your balcony and you're right there."
"We're in the process of downsizing," retired couple Roy and Judith McSwain explained what attracted them to consider bidding. "Just the convenience of everything, restaurants and the theater."
Bids start at $115,000, but who knows how much people will pay to own a piece of history.
"The market will decide," developer Brian Conley said. "And hopefully people can come and buy something at a very reasonable price."
While the Chocolate Factory traditionally draws in tourists, tenants may also be tempted by the idea of taking in the addictive aroma day and night.
"I'm sure they can," Hopper said. "You can smell it outside. We can smell it on our clothes when we go home."
And if they serve caffeine for breakfast, as well as dessert, java-loving bidders may not be able to resist.
"That way they can make it their first stop in the morning, when they're leaving or heading out," Hopper explained plans for adding coffee to the menu.
Tours of the Candy Factory Loft continue Sunday through Tuesday from 1-5 p.m.
The auction for all 47 units will be held Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Foundry.