KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee announced the proposed sale of the Eugenia Williams house to the Aslan Foundation today. The sale is pending approval by the State Building Commission Executive Subcommittee on Oct. 31.
“The Aslan Foundation’s purchase of the Eugenia Williams House from the University of Tennessee aligns with the foundation’s mission of preserving beauty, advancing livability and supporting cultural assets in the Knoxville area,” said Andrea Bailey, executive director of the Aslan Foundation. “In particular, historic preservation is a key funding priority for the foundation, and we are pleased to be a part of ensuring that this building and its grounds are preserved for future public use and appreciation. The Eugenia Williams House is a regional and national treasure, containing important architectural elements and reflecting the role of one of Knoxville’s prominent families. We plan to immediately evaluate and stabilize the house, in addition to hiring an architect to develop an historic preservations plan. Over the long term, we will work closely with the community to determine its highest and best use.”
In June, the University of Tennessee filed a cy pres court action to permit the sale of the property. Following the court action, the University worked with the State of Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management (STREAM) office to solicit sealed bids for the purchase of property. Bids were subject to a preservation easement on the house. Aslan Foundation submitted the strongest bid at $4.025 million for the property with provisions to preserve the house and retain the natural beauty of the property.
“We are excited to have a buyer that will not only preserve, but restore the home and property,” Interim UT President Randy Boyd said. “This is a win-win for our community and for lower income students wanting to achieve their dream of attending UT.”
Proceeds from the sale will be directed to establish the UT Knoxville Promise Dr. David Hitt Williams Endowment, in honor of Williams’ father. UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program that will guarantee free tuition and fees for students with a family household income of under $50,000 and after other financial aid is received (such as Pell Grants, HOPE Scholarship, or other institutional scholarships). UT Promise will welcome its first class in the fall of 2020, and the scholarship program will include those students who were previously enrolled in college when the program begins in 2020.
The Aslan Foundation
The Aslan Foundation’s fundng priorities include arts and culture, historic preservation, animal welfare, land conservation, outdoor recreation, and advancing livability in Knoxville. The foundation works to strengthen the Knoxville community through grant making, foundation projects, and public private partnerships.
The Aslan Foundation is committed to historic preservation in Knoxville and has demonstrated that commitment through a range of projects. From the opening of High Ground Park, designed to preserve and protect Fort Higley’s Civil War earthworks, to the preservation of iconic Westwood, to the current rehabilition of both the Candoro Marble Building and Loghaven’s historic log cabins, the foundation believes that historic sites are worth saving and sharing.
Eugenia Williams was born in January 1900 to a prominent physician, who was one of the original investors who introduced Coca-Cola to East Tennessee. The 10,800-square-foot house at 4848 Lyons View Pike was designed by renowned architect John Fanz Staub. Ms. Williams left the house and the 24-acre property on the Tennessee River to the University of Tennessee after her death in 1998.