KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A well-known building in South Knoxville will soon get a face lift. A group of developers, including David Dewhirst, bought the old Kern’s Bakery on Chapman Highway a little more than two weeks ago.
Thousands of cars travel on Chapman Highway every day and pass the historic building.
Collin Zalarski, 22, is one of those drivers. He says he passes the area about ten times a day.
“Just an old brick building, that’s pretty much all I can tell you from the outside,” he said.
A group of developers consisting of David Dewhirst, Mark Heinz, Tim Zitzman, and Dixon Greenwood bought the property for about $625,000. They plan on redeveloping the site and believe the building that’s full of history has a lot of potential for transforming South Knoxville.
“South Knoxville is deserving of something and it’s time,” said Greenwood.
Developers say they hope to turn the iconic building into office and retail space along with entertainment venues.
With 14 acres, including the 68,000 square foot bakery, Greenwood said there’s a lot to be excited about.
“We recognize the significance that this building has had to this community. We want to do Knoxville proud with this project,” he said.
Developers will spend the next six to eight months cleaning up the building. They hope the project will help reestablish South Knoxville as a destination place.
“I think that it’ll be a very positive thing for the future of South Knoxville if they’re able to get the younger, more progressive crowd to this side of town,” said Zalarski.
The warehouse next to Kern’s Bakery went up in flames in 2012. Developers say it will be part of their redevelopment and cleanup too.
A timeline for the project has not been set aside from the cleanup.