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Torchbearer1

Knoxville: will we EVER get another high rise

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i know the market crash pretty much ended any hope of a few of the early millennium projects such as Wortham Watkins and the Sentinel Tower and the perimeter Parkside tower. It's tough to see similar sized cities like little rock and des moines and the skylines the boast and also a city like mobile getting a 800 plus footer. 

 

What say you?

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Never mind another highrise, I was beginning to wonder if we'd ever see another Knoxville post!

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Ever is a really long time. I'm sure Knoxville will get one at some point, but I have to say I'm a little dumbfounded as to why they haven't been able to build anything of relative height (a few midrises around UT) to boost the skyline.

Knoxville has a lot going for it, and it has seen some signs of urban life as the trend of new urban development -- especially urban residential development, mixed use development, and urban retail -- but it has not seen anything close to a boom. When I lived in Knoxville, from 2004-2009, I watched Nashville from afar as numerous major projects were either constructed or proposed. I was hoping to see the same in Knoxville...not on the same scale, necessarily, but a big boost in urban development. Instead, it trudged along. Yes, there were some nice little victories -- the downtown Regal, and the redevelopment of Gay St. in general, as well as some condo/loft conversions like the Holston, and a few new things around UT. But the big boy projects just never seemed to come. Heck, even the smaller developments were pretty slow, it seemed. 

Perhaps Knoxville doesn't have the type of major industry players to get 20-30 story office towers these days (or they would just prefer to be....out west). And maybe some of that mentality plays into the lack of similar residential development. I know a lot of Knoxvillians that just seem to 'like things the way they are'. 

What I think Knoxville needs is a good young base of professional talent and innovation. They have a large, national university on their downtown's doorstep. They have a major research facility a little ways down the road in Oak Ridge. The university draws students from around the country and the world....but it seems Knoxville has a tough time convincing them to plant roots. Instead, many flock to the other 'young, happening places' after college....Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, etc. If Knoxville can hold on to more of that demographic, then perhaps they can change the urban landscape.

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