Doug and Teresa Horn of Quality Financial Concepts threw a holiday season kick-off party on the sixth floor of the downtown building theyve re named Preservation Plaza.
The couple is in the process of having the aluminum siding removed from the brick structure. According to Teresa Horn, the gala at Top of the Plaza, as the sixth floor is now known, couldve just as easily been dubbed a victory party for the former Blount National Bank building.
"The best part was seeing it all decorated for Christmas. The highlight for me was driving down Broadway toward the building and seeing the chandeliers lit with people standing there enjoying themselves with a Christmas tree in the window," she said. "None of that has been possible since 1971 when they put the aluminum on. For us, that was a victory party."
Teresa Horn said going from 15 to 20 years of dust to having a place that was completely cleaned up and was shining and inviting was gratifying.
"The comments we heard were wonderful," she continued. "People referred to it as the Club LeConte of Maryville. It has that welcoming feel. While there were 200 plus people there, it never felt crowded. It flowed well between the rooms."
Doug Horn said that while it seemed like it took forever to uncover and find what was behind each door and get rooms ready to lease, now that the aluminum "veil" was being removed, theyve been pleased with what theyve found. Doug Horn said he also was thankful to everyone in the city who has helped in renovating and preparing the building for lease.
Horn said the building is a thread through the history of the community because people tell him their memories of banking there or seeing lawyers or other professionals in the offices of the building. The building once again will house offices for professionals and Horn said he and his wife are moving forward getting tenants for the third, fourth and fifth floors.
"Were entering into one-to-three year leases and getting a manner of calls on access to the top floor," he said. About the Top of the Plaza sixth floor, Horn said word was slowly getting out that it is available for parties, receptions and events.
Before the aluminum was removed, many motorists and pedestrians just didnt notice the building. "It was a void in space.
People passed by without taking notice. The color was bland and lacked major interest. Now people are certainly noticing it.," he said. "They see it on the horizon. Its certainly a different landscape than what used to be there."
Photographer Darrell Watkins was at the party and captured these images for Blount Today.