KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Utility work related to the construction of an $80-million multi-use stadium in downtown Knoxville is scheduled to begin next month.
The first round of utility work related to the construction of the publicly-owned stadium that will be home to the Tennessee Smokies and One Knoxville Sporting Club will begin on May 2. Crews will begin by relocating water and sanitary sewer lines on multiple streets just east of the Old City neighborhood.
The following streets will be closed:
• Jackson Avenue, between Patton and Florida streets
• Willow Avenue, between Patton and Kentucky streets
• Georgia Street, south of Willow Avenue
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 as well as professional baseball and soccer games.
Tennessee Smokies Owner Randy Boyd donated the land to the city as part of the public-private deal and has pledged to bring more than $100 million in private investment to the area, which would serve as one of several revenue sources for paying down the stadium debt.
Rising construction costs have pushed the total estimated cost of the stadium from $65 million to $80 million. State officials have included a $13.5 million state economic development grant for the site in the latest fiscal budget and the Tennessee Smokies will pay an annual lease of roughly $1 million.
The City and Knox County’s anticipated payment toward the stadium debt would be about $240,000 for each government annually for the first 10 years. After the first decade, city officials said that an independent economic impact analysis shows the project has the potential to pay for itself.
The total economic impact of the publicly-owned stadium and surrounding private development in East Knoxville is projected to be nearly $480 million over 30 years. More than 400 full-time jobs are expected to be created.
Upon their return to Knoxville in 2025, the Tennessee Smokies will officially change their name back to the Knoxville Smokies.