Tax deal to bring new residential, retail space to downtown

Tax deal to bring new residential, retail space to downtown

Posted:
The agreement provides for a minimum annual payment on the real property of $4,674 to be paid to the city and $4,545 to be paid to Knox County. The agreement provides for a minimum annual payment on the real property of $4,674 to be paid to the city and $4,545 to be paid to Knox County.
For Knoxvillians like Jeremy Presnell, downtown is the ideal place to live. For Knoxvillians like Jeremy Presnell, downtown is the ideal place to live.
The hope is to connect the old historic inner city to the heart of downtown by developing several buildings along Depot Avenue. The hope is to connect the old historic inner city to the heart of downtown by developing several buildings along Depot Avenue.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) –  Five historic buildings on Depot Avenue in downtown Knoxville are about to get a major facelift.

The hope is to connect the old historic inner city to the heart of downtown by developing several buildings along Depot Avenue.

For Knoxvillians like Jeremy Presnell, downtown is the ideal place to live.

"It'd be nice because it's just so convenient to everything, walking distance to everywhere, you don't have to get out and drive if you don't want to and its always a lot going on which is a big bonus," said Presnell.

But for Presnell, as well as many others, the rent is a bit out of his price range, and there simply aren't that many options available.

That's a problem developer David Dewhirst is tackling in his latest project.

"The demand is amazing, there are so many people that would like to live in the downtown core and we can only put units on line so fast," explained Dewhirst.

Right now he's redeveloping five historic buildings along Depot and Central Street. The project started with the renovation of the White Lily Flour Mill.

"Depot Avenue although it's been neglected and blighted for a long time, it's really a beautiful street, it just needs some of these buildings down here to be brought back to life with some new and interesting uses," he said.

The idea is to expand the core of downtown across the railroad tracks into north parts of downtown. To help developers like Dewhirst, the city is offering some incentive.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved a 12 year PILOT, or payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal.

"The interest in the real estate community and the interest in the residential community is all very strong," explained Bob Whetsel, the city's director of redevelopment.

The agreement provides for a minimum annual payment on the real property of $4,674 to be paid to the city and $4,545 to be paid to Knox County.

"For a period of time, they'll freeze your taxes for you, allow you to use that time to catch up and bring the properties back up to code," explained Dewhirst.

The expansion is expected to create jobs and investment in the Magnolia/North Central redevelopment area.

"The key to [this expansion] is private development, we try to support this with TIFS and PILOTS," explained Whetsel.

Construction is already underway at the old White Lily Mill, and the whole neighborhood is expected to be transformed by next year.

"In a year, when you drive down here, you'll see 100 new residences, a lot of new retail space, you'll see crossfit gym, you'll see variety of open air," Dewhirst said explaining the future of the neighborhood. "You'll see a bigger, more lively city."

 

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.