The City of Knoxville has advised the Knoxville College Board of Trustees that it is pursuing other site options for a new $40 million combined City Police and Fire Department headquarters.
In a letter to the Knoxville College Board on Tuesday, David Brace, Deputy to the Mayor and COO, stated that due to the Board not being able to fulfill requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding, “the City is now in the difficult position of terminating our current partnership agreement.”
The initial agreement was announced by Mayor Madeline Rogero in her April 27 State of the City address.
One of the first major necessary steps: The Knoxville College Board of Trustees needed to successfully negotiate with Financial Capital Resources to alleviate the college’s debt in order to make the site redevelopment viable. The city said the college has been unsuccessful in its efforts to date.
“The City is disappointed that this agreement was not able to advance in a timely manner,” Brace said. “The redevelopment proposal created an opportunity for Knoxville College to focus on restoring the core of its historical campus and re-initiating its educational programs, while relieving the College and the Mechanicsville neighborhood of the impact of vacant and blighted buildings on the back side of campus. The development opportunity would have included a new police and fire headquarters, housing and mixed-use development, and recreational opportunities for the community.
“The City appreciates the Knoxville College Board for reaching out to us, and we are open to discussing future partnership opportunities with Knoxville College should they arise.”
The City’s pivot to identifying a new location will not delay the much-needed replacement of the outdated Safety Building. Likewise, selecting a new police and fire headquarters site will not delay the Clayton Family Foundation as it funds and builds a new $150 million science and discovery center on the site of the Coliseum/Auditorium and Safety Building.