January 3, 2008 - Downtown Knoxville will
have another great dining option later this year when the latest Gridiron
Burgers opens its doors next to the Regal Riviera 8 Theater.
Knoxville City Council unanimously approved a five-year lease
for the casual, family-friendly and football-themed restaurant in
the retail space adjacent to the theater. Council also approved
spending $300,000 to build out the shell space.
The downtown cinema project included the retail shell with the
idea it would eventually be built out when a business reached a
lease agreement for the property.
"This is going to be a great addition to downtown and I think
people will really enjoy this restaurant," said Mayor Bill
Haslam, "and we're looking forward to working with Collin Cope."
Cope, Gridiron's owner, told council he hopes to be open at the
new location, which is on the north side of the theater, this summer.
Cope was a longtime Ruby Tuesday executive before striking out
on his own with his first Gridiron Burgers in Powell in 2006 and
followed that with one in Farragut last year.
He said that he had considered other possible locations in downtown
before reaching the agreement to move in next to the theater.
"Ever since I started my own company I've looked downtown,"
Cope said. "I like the momentum Mayor Haslam has started to
redevelop downtown and I wanted to be part of it."
The lease is between Cope's company and the Public Building Authority,
which manages city-owned properties.
Conversion Properties Inc., representing PBA, negotiated the lease
It calls for an initial five-year term with the option for two
additional five-year terms.
Rent will be $56,240 per year for the initial term, $62,160 for
the first extended term and $68,820 for a second extended term of
The lease period will not start until the build out of the space