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Latest Facade Improvement Project Makes Broadway Debut 
The City's latest completed Commercial Facade Improvement Program project just made its official Broadway debut.

At 949 N. Broadway, that is. 

Patdome Promotions owners Tanya and Mike Ickowitz have been in business since 2006, working with clients including the University of Tennessee and Knoxville Track Club to produce eye-catching, attention-getting promotional materials.

Patdome ribbon cutting

They decided to commit to their business venture full time and left their steady, reliable jobs in 2019. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Patdome Mayor Kincannon speaking
Mike and Tanya Ickowitz speak to guests at the Patdome Promotions grand opening event on July 12, 2023. 

Despite their expectations, their business boomed during the pandemic. However, so did the numbers of promotional items and packing materials in their home and garage. It was time to look at a space dedicated to their business. 

In 2022, Tanya and Mike purchased 949 N. Broadway and applied for Commercial Facade Improvement Funding from the City. They received $50,000, which is the average amount of each facade grant, to use on qualifying improvements.

In addition to facade improvements, they gutted the building's interior walls and remediated existing asbestos. They replaced interior and exterior plumbing infrastructure with modern equipment, added an additional restroom, offices and kitchen areas, replaced all the flooring and fixtures using products from other local businesses, and made the overall space more conducive to client meetings and project management.

All told, the owners have invested nearly $760,000 in this property.

This is exactly what the Commercial Facade Improvement Program is all about, says Housing and Neighborhood Development Director Kevin DuBose. "The whole community benefits when public and private development comes together to renew older commercial buildings and give new life to business districts, generating property taxes, remediating blight and priming the pump for future area investments," he said.

"If we hadn't gotten the facade grant, we probably would have still bought and renovated the building," Tanya said during the event. "But we would have postponed fixing the exterior due to the expense." The couple joked that they designed the whole building around Mike's fun exterior light fixtures: multi-colored programable LEDs. 

LED exterior lights 
In March 2023, Mike set the LED exterior lights to orange to celebrate the UT Vols and UT Lady Vols basketball teams playing in the Sweet 16 tournaments.

"I want people to drive by and think, 'What's Patdome doing today? What are they celebrating?'" Mike said, like a true promotions professional. 

Running Club

Guests of the grand opening included their realtor, their commercial loan lender, staff members of the L&N STEM Academy, where they have a partnership, and the owner of a building down the street who is also interested in applying for a facade improvement grant.

Members of the Back of the Pack Elite Running Club, who count Tanya and Mike among their numbers, also came out to support their friends and the designers of their attention-getting t-shirts.

As Mayor Kincannon pointed out during her remarks, you can see the difference that the commercial facade grant program has made along Broadway, where more than $1.4 million in facade improvement grants have improved 29 buildings since the program began in 2006. Those public investments leveraged more than $7 million in additional private investment through this facade program alone.

See before and after photos of several Facade Improvement Program prjects on Broadway, N. Central, Sevier Avenue, Magnolia Avenue and other neighborhoods here

Here's a quick look at 949 N. Broadway through the years (via Google Street Views): 

Patdome facade 2011
949 N. Broadway in 2011.

Patdome facade 2021
949 N. Broadway in 2021.

Patdome facade Dec. 2022
949 N. Broadway in December 2022.

Posted by ptravis On 13 July, 2023 at 4:27 PM