First tenant breaks ground in long-vacant Blount technology park

First tenant breaks ground in long-vacant Blount technology park

Posted:
Hundreds gathered to watch the groundbreaking of anchor tenant ProNova Solutions, LLC. Hundreds gathered to watch the groundbreaking of anchor tenant ProNova Solutions, LLC.
A rendering of the new building in the Pellissippi Place Technology Research and Development Park. (source: ProNova Solutions) A rendering of the new building in the Pellissippi Place Technology Research and Development Park. (source: ProNova Solutions)

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - After sitting empty for more than three years, ground was finally broken in an East Tennessee technology park for its first tenant.

Pellissippi Place, located off Pellissippi Parkway in Blount County, is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between four city and county governments.

Maryville, Alcoa, Blount County and Knox County each invested millions to make the park possible.

Results of that teamwork were seen Tuesday as hundreds gathered to watch the groundbreaking of anchor tenant ProNova Solutions, LLC.

ProNova develops proton therapy, which is an advanced form of cancer treatment.

"Proton therapy, we believe, is the next generation of radiation therapy treatment for cancer. It has a lot of benefits of conventional radiation therapy," said ProNova CEO Terry Douglass.

The facility will be the only place in the world where the proton therapy system can be tested complete with protons.

"All of us have been touched by cancer or the impact of cancer," said Douglass.

Local officials who have been anxious to get Pellissippi Place going couldn't be happier about ProNova's decision to come to Blount County.

"If we would have gone out and drawn up a plan of the company that we wanted to be the beginning of this tech park, the minute we drew it up, it would have been ProNova," said Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell.

ProNova is bringing much more than just innovative technology to East Tennessee. It's bringing employment.

By 2018, ProNova will employ 500 people. That number could grow to more than 2000 by 2023.

"Those are 2000 pretty well-paying jobs where people can actually live and have a good quality of life," said Mitchell.

Now that the first occupant of this pristine tech park is settled, officials hope other companies will soon follow.

"Companies will be here. I really think this is the beginning of a great thing," said Mitchell.

"We feel thankful and blessed to be here and also be a part of bringing this wonderful technology to the world," said Douglass.

ProNova currently employs 70 people.

Once the new building is complete, it will contain more than 60,000 sq. ft. of space on 26 acres of land.

When the project was announced in February, the plans were for the construction of two facilities in two phases.

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