Knoxville officials host public forum for Jackson Avenue plans

Knoxville officials host public forum for Jackson Avenue plans

Posted:
The downtown property runs from Broadway Avenue to Gay Street, including the recently demolished McClung Warehouses. The city owns a good chunk of property on that block. The downtown property runs from Broadway Avenue to Gay Street, including the recently demolished McClung Warehouses. The city owns a good chunk of property on that block.
"We have a significant amount of city property there. We're looking to have requests for proposals for potential developers. We want to get as much as we can from the public before we proceed on that process," said Bill Lyons, chief property officer. "We have a significant amount of city property there. We're looking to have requests for proposals for potential developers. We want to get as much as we can from the public before we proceed on that process," said Bill Lyons, chief property officer.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - City officials are looking to develop Jackson Avenue, and they're asking for your help.

The downtown property runs from Broadway Avenue to Gay Street, including the recently demolished McClung Warehouses. The city owns a good chunk of property on that block.

There will be a public forum at 5:30 Thursday night at the Southern Depot on West Depot Avenue.

The ideas they get from the public will be used to craft a request for proposals, that's expected to go out this summer.

Since the McClung Warehouses burned down earlier this year, there's a lot of empty space on Jackson Avenue. The city is hoping to soon change that.

"We have a significant amount of city property there. We're looking to have requests for proposals for potential developers. We want to get as much as we can from the public before we proceed on that process," said Bill Lyons, Knoxville's chief policy officer.

Lyons says the city is wide open to ideas.

"I would say we have very few, if any, preconceived notions. We know we want substantial private development and investment there and we know generally we'd like to see mixed use as part of what we're looking for downtown," Lyons said.

Caleb Boaz lives downtown and says he wants "something that has local flavor, in order to fit on this block I think it's got to be small business."

Boaz says he wants to see more shops that cater to residents like him.

"It's great to see residential grow, but at the same time there needs to be commercial ventures to accommodate downtown living, things like grocery stores, pharmacies," Boaz said.

David Sawyer says he'd like to see more restaurants and apartments in the area.

"I know it's a big financial risk for a developer to come in here, but it seems like there is a lot of interest in Knoxville, and people look at this as being the next Asheville now," Sawyer said.

Regardless of the future plans, Cheryl Gentry says she's just happy to see it develop.

"We remember when there was nobody downtown. The stores left, everybody left. There was nothing downtown. We're thrilled for Knoxville and we're thrilled for the people that live downtown," Gentry said.

Knoxville developer David Dewhirst tells 6 News his company is interested in helping develop Jackson Avenue, and like the city, he's waiting to hear what the public wants.

 

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