Richard E. Dover is a real estate developer based in Knoxville, Tenn. A Tennessee native, Richard E. Dover has previously worked as a project manager for General Homes of Houston, Texas, as well as for its parent company CBRE. Richard E. Dover was also a self-employed real estate developer until taking the helm of Family Pride Corporation in 1993, a company primarily involved in developing high-quality assisted living facilities.
Presentation Solutions: Mr. Dover, please tell us about your renovation of the historic Alexander Inn.
Richard E. Dover: We are preserving this Oak Ridge historic property by renovating it and converting it into an assisted living facility.
Presentation Solutions: How is it historic?
Richard E. Dover: It was built in 1942, known then as the Guest House, when the Manhattan Project was starting in Oak Ridge. It housed some of the top scientists working on the atomic bomb such as Robert Oppenheimer and Enrico Fermi.
Presentation Solutions: How long will the renovation take?
Richard E. Dover: It’s a nine-month process. If you walk along the outside façade of the building today, you can see that there are lots of things that need work.
Presentation Solutions: Such as?
Richard E. Dover: All the windows have to be updated. But since we are committed to a historic renovation, the wood will need to look the same as it originally did.
Presentation Solutions: Your company is called Family Pride Corporation, correct?
Richard E. Dover: That’s right. We’ve done this before and we know we’ve got our work cut out for us. But people have waited a long time for this and we’re ready.
Presentation Solutions: Where are you in the process?
Richard E. Dover: We’ve just finished demolition, removing anything that’s hazardous to our crews. Despite the dilapidated appearance, the building could be a lot worse.
Presentation Solutions: How’s that?
Richard E. Dover: The general structure is in great shape and the areas that are bad, we’ll just start from the ground up and build anew.
Presentation Solutions: Will it be restored to look just like it did in the 1940s?
Richard E. Dover: Yes. As a protected historic site, the inn will be preserved to its original form. We think it’s great any time you can save a historical building like the Alexander Inn that has such a history in Oak Ridge.
Presentation Solutions: We’ve learned that the public has had a chance to own some of this history.
Richard E. Dover: That’s right. During demolition, we found all kinds of furnishings that were just going to be thrown away, so we wanted to give people a chance to have some things from the building.
Presentation Solutions: What about the historical pieces?
Richard E. Dover: All furniture and architectural pieces of real historic value have been removed and placed in several local museums, but there were still many other items for sale.
Presentation Solutions: What kinds of items?
Richard E. Dover: Mirrors, dressers, bed frames, old upholstered armchairs, and more. Volunteers removed all the remaining furniture and items from the dozens of rooms and held an estate sale.
Presentation Solutions: Were the items expensive?
Richard E. Dover: The items were mostly from the ’60s and ’70s and priced below $50.
Presentation Solutions: Who benefited from the sale?
Richard E. Dover: The funds benefited the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.
Presentation Solutions: That sounds like a really great opportunity!
Richard E. Dover: There was some really neat stuff just sitting there and in great shape; it just took knocking the dust off it.
Presentation Solutions: Thanks for talking with us.
Richard E. Dover: My pleasure.