Andrew Johnson Building to become hotel again

The historic Andrew Johnson Building (Photo by J.J. Stambaugh)

One of downtown Knoxville’s most enduring landmarks was sold early this week to a company that plans to return it to its original role as a high-rise hotel. 

The sale of the Andrew Johnson Building to Nashville-based BNA Associates for $6 million was finalized Monday, according to Knox County officials. 

“The Andrew Johnson Building has a lot of history in this community, and BNA will now carry on that legacy for a whole new generation,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Transferring this unique property to the private sector will help boost our local economy, produce hotel/motel, mixed-drink, and local option sales taxes, and provide a number of jobs.”

BNA intends to opens a boutique hotel to be called Hotel AMERICANA that will be themed around the building’s history in music.

“Hotel AMERICANA will consist of 143 well-appointed guest rooms; multiple food and beverage venues; and a parlor room with billiards, board games, food pantry, fireplace, and living room style seating,” trumpeted a press release from Mayor Jacob’s office. “There will also be two private function spaces for up to 150 people each.”

The 203-foot-tall building dominated Knoxville’s skyline for decades. Built in 1929, the Andrew Johnson Hotel gained fame as the last place where country music legend Hank Williams spent the night before dying in 1952. 

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and Knox County ended up buying it in 1991 to serve as the administrative offices for Knox County Schools. 

In 2017 — during the administration of former Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett — the Knox County Purchasing Department released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the sale and redevelopment of the property. The school system’s offices were relocated to the TVA East Tower last year.

BNA, a real estate development company founded in 2009, specializes in hotels, restaurants, multifamily, retail and mixed-use projects, according to its website. 

Published on August 4, 2022.