KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Developers have released new renderings of the multimillion-dollar, 7000-seat stadium planned for the Old City neighborhood of downtown Knoxville.
The new images come after Knoxville-Knox County Sports Authority Board held a meeting Tuesday to discuss stadium design and cost management. Total costs of the project are still yet to be finalized, but developers are grappling with costs rising beyond the nearly $80 million in public funds already committed to the project by local and state officials.
Several reductions in the scope of the project are planned to offset the rising costs of building materials and labor such as getting rid of the second floor on either side of the club seating area, eliminating retail space on the east side of the stadium and moving team offices into an adjoining building.
Another cost-cutting measure involves not covering First Creek with the stadium but rather incorporating it into the stadium footprint.
The stadium is expected to be open in time for the 2025 baseball season, though officials have not ruled out that it may be ready to host other events by 2024. The stadium has been designed to accommodate hundreds of events per year including concerts, festivals, farmers’ markets, and community events in addition to professional sports.
Knoxville was home to a minor league baseball team for decades before the team moved to an 8,000-seat stadium in Kodak in 2000. Upon their return to Knoxville in 2025, the Tennessee Smokies will officially change their name back to the Knoxville Smokies.
“We’re trying to build enough cushion, enough leeway into the timeline and be realistic,” said Kirchhofer. “There’s not a lot of cushions left in order to make sure we are open in 2025, which is the goal and still a realistic goal. Everybody is hopeful and optimistic that that’s achievable.”