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ATLBrain

Knoxville's Fountains at Turkey Creek

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Before my wife catches on and discovers that I'm not already outside raking leaves... I have a question for anybody who can link to a rendering I saw about a month ago.

I was at my in-laws' in Knoxville the weekend before Thanksgiving (11/17-19) and remember seeing a picture of a new hi-rise going up in Knoxville. It's called the Fountains at Turkey Creek and it's about 16-18 stories tall. Unfortunately, it's not going downtown, but at the I-40/Pellissippi area... at the massive Turkey Creek development for those who are familiar.

I found a picture online but it was in Adobe (plus I don't want to violate the copyright rules of this board)... but if anybody can find it online and link to it legally, I think the forumers here would appreciate it. It really is a beautiful building. Although it has only 16 or so floors, it is supposed to rise to about 250' (that was the variance requested).

Would somebody from E. TN see if you can scare it up and post the link, please?

Finally, I want to say that I love the areas around Knoxville. It has some of the prettiest residential areas of any southern city I've seen. But --- damn it! --- that city is sprawling too fast. It now stretches all the way west to the I-75/I-40 junction. And you can't tell when you leave Knoxville and enter Alcoa/Maryville anymore. I understand that it is a very fast growing metro, but it hasn't concentrated on its downtown like other cities have. Such a shame too, as its downtown has a lot of potential.

Rant.. rant.. rant... uh oh... I hear my wife.

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I think the NIMBY's in Knoxville hinder the downtown form being what it could be. There has been a number of proposals shot down by local opposition.

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Finally, I want to say that I love the areas around Knoxville. It has some of the prettiest residential areas of any southern city I've seen. But --- damn it! --- that city is sprawling too fast. It now stretches all the way west to the I-75/I-40 junction. And you can't tell when you leave Knoxville and enter Alcoa/Maryville anymore. I understand that it is a very fast growing metro, but it hasn't concentrated on its downtown like other cities have. Such a shame too, as its downtown has a lot of potential.

My wife and I just moved to the Knoxville metro area (and live outside downtown) in the last 8 weeks and I agree that it's downtown's potential has been barely scratched. I have hope that it continues to grow and develop.

It's interesting b/c it's infrastructure doesn't lend itself to a well-developed downtown. At first impression it appears very piece-mealed in putting together. I think you can see the potential in the Old City, Gay St. (which is vastly underdeveloped IMHO; hopefully the movie theatre will continue development, grocery store needed as well) and market square. Visually you can picture a day where all of those things are linked together.

It really reminds us of Columbia, SC. Unfortunately we were there for 4 years and saw very little progress. While we were amazed at Greenville, SC's development.

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I actually googled Knoxville in Google news and this came up :)

Developer hopes to change West Knox landscape

By ROGER HARRIS, [email protected]

December 11, 2005

FirstBank City President Tim Bush is looking for new office space that will give the growing bank a high-profile presence in the lucrative West Knoxville marketplace.

Clint McCarty, owner of The McCarty Insurance Agency, and Gary Norvell, co-owner of Batson Himes Norvell & Poe engineering firm, are looking for a distinctive suburban office building worthy of investment.

All three businessmen found what they need in the Fountains at Parkside, the signature 150,000-square-foot West Knoxville office tower developer Dale Akins proposes to build near the intersection of Pellissippi Parkway and Interstates 40 and 75. Akins is chief manager for Plaza Partners II LLC, the project developer.

"It's really unmatched. It will give us a strong presence in West Knoxville to go with our landmark building downtown," said Bush, who plans to lease one and possibly two floors in the proposed suburban high-rise.

Lexington, Tenn.-based FirstBank last week signed a lease on space in the former BB&T building at Church Avenue and Market Street.

When Norvell looked at the architect's rendering for the Fountains at Parkside project he saw "a phenomenal-looking building in a really good location. It's going to have excellent visibility from the interstate."

With a 55-foot-tall glass parapet perched on top of 12 floors of office space, the tip of the building would rise 250 feet from ground level. The Fountains at Parkside would be more than twice as high as any other office building in suburban Knoxville. Countywide, the only commercial buildings higher would be a handful of towers in the downtown central business district and on the

University of Tennessee campus.

Akins still has a number of hoops to jump through before the first spade of dirt is turned for his high-rise. Primarily, he must firm up financing and have city building code officials sign off on the blueprints.

But if his dream becomes reality, the Fountains at Parkside could be a harbinger of future development in West Knoxville and West Knox County.

High-rise review The Metropolitan Planning Commission has embarked on an ambitious review of the master land use plan for the Technology Corridor overlay zone, including consideration of a new zoning classification that would allow high-rise development, said MPC Executive Director Mark Donaldson.

The Technology Corridor encompasses some 7,000 acres cutting across northwest Knox County along the Pellissippi Parkway, north of the intersection with Interstate 40/75.

Under study is extending the technology overlay zone south of I-40/75 toward Blount County.

"One of the things we want to look at is how to encourage development at certain nodes along the corridor and create more of an urban setting within those nodes with more mixed uses," Donaldson said.

As part of the review process MPC planners will hold a series of meetings in late January or early February to solicit public comment on how the master plan should be updated.

MPC planners aren't expected to suggest that metro Knoxville be ringed by high-rise office buildings, but office towers likely would have a place within the corridor development nodes that Donaldson envisions.

"We may end up creating a new zoning classification that allows vertical mixed uses," Donaldson said.

Extending the technology overlay zone south toward Blount County also would help the Jobs Now! regional economic development campaign, said Dave Hill, the city's chief operating officer and former MPC executive director.

"Part of the plan for branding the region as Innovation Valley is the idea of being able to regionally link Oak Ridge National Lab all the way down to the airport," Hill said.

Encouraging development along an extended tech corridor would further that branding effort, Hill said.

Under existing zoning regulations, high-rise office buildings are generally restricted to the downtown area. The existing 90-foot maximum height for buildings in suburban commercial zones forced Akins to seek a height waiver from the Knoxville Board of Zoning Appeals.

The board granted the waiver at its November meeting.

"We had to have the waiver. We could have done a typical four- or five-story box, but we just don't want to do that kind of building. We want something unique," said Akins, who also is president of The Market Edge Inc., a Knoxville-based reporting service that tracks building permits, subdivision development, population and employment data for selected counties in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.

Given rising land prices and construction costs, building a tower was the best way to create enough office space to justify the development investment, Akins said. He estimates the cost of the project at $25 million.

Chad Boetger, director of design for the Atlanta office of HKS Inc. Architects, said his marching orders from Akins were to come up with a design outside the norm for suburban Knoxville.

"What we've done is create an extremely vertical feel for the building that reaches toward the sky," Boetger said.

The glass parapet along the top gives the building "an undefined look that will (seem) to dematerialize up into the sky during the day," Boetger said.

At night plans are to light the parapet from within making it visible for some distance, said Boetger, who graduated from the University of Tennessee and worked as an architect in Knoxville for nine years before moving to Atlanta.

Dallas-based HKS is a global architect firm known for designing high-profile buildings such as Texas Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play; the American Express Financial Center, a 30-story office tower with 1 million square feet of space in Minneapolis; and Frost Bank Tower, the tallest building in Austin, Texas.

Knoxville's skyline needs more aesthetically exciting buildings that get people buzzing about the style, Hill said.

"We should always try to foster good architectural design. This (Fountains at Parkside) project is heads and tails above what I would consider standard block high-rise design," said Hill, who spoke in support of the Parkside high-rise at the appeals board hearing.

What makes an attractive building is in the eye of the beholder, but interesting designs tend to attract other interesting projects, Hill added.

"We need to spur that type of investment," he said.

Reserving space Creative architecture means little if there isn't demand for new office space, however. Empty office buildings are just another tall stack of glass and steel without people working inside.

Akins is convinced there's plenty of demand in West Knoxville and West Knox County. He already has double the number of space reservations he needs to fill the Fountains at Parkside.

"We have the momentum and we've spent zero on marketing," Akins said.

Plaza Partners hopes to break ground in July. Construction would take about 15 months. With another couple of months for tenants to finish out their space, the building could be ready for occupancy by the end of 2007, Akins said.

Plaza Partners plans to lease half of the space and sell the other half as office condominiums.

There's no question the suburban office market is sizzling. The availability of Class A space in particular is limited.

FirstBank's Bush said he's ready to finalize a lease as soon as Akins gets approval to start construction.

Insurance agency owner McCarty is eager to pick out which floor he will buy in the proposed high-rise.

"I plan to rent out 8,000 square feet and keep 2,000 for myself," McCarty said.

Other suburban office developments are already under way in response to market demand.

"Just look at what (Nick) Cazana is doing at Century Park and everything that's going on at Turkey Creek," Hill said.

Cazana's Pellissippi Dutchtown General Partnership recently started construction of a second office building in Century Park, an office and retail complex being built on 80 acres on Sherrill Boulevard near Pellissippi Parkway.

Partners Development is building a medical office complex on the portion of Parkside Drive inside the town of Farragut next door to the Turkey Creek retail complex.

Akins said the success other developers are having is a sign more office space is needed

"We're ready to go. There's no reason not to do it," Akins said.

1211tower1_e.jpg

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1211tower1_e.jpg

That's a really nice looking building for Knoxville, IMO. I would prefer it be in downtown, but I do see a huge future potential for the I-75 and I-40 area west of Knoxville where this building would be located. There is talk of building a freeway extention of I-75 that heads from the intersection with I-40 northeast past Oak Ridge and intersecting with I-75 north of Knoxville. If that road is built, I see this development being located in the heart of future growth within the metro Knoxville area.

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Thanks 1337hax0r for scaring up a "postable" picture. I liked the design, and I thought others on this forum would too.

I had not read the article you posted, but it makes the point that the west side of Knoxville is becoming a technology corridor. I have seen that area explode with growth in the last ten years. Unfortunately, the article also makes the point that the city really is not committed to building up its downtown. It looks like Knoxville will be just another sprawling example of Generica. That area is already looking like a budding new suburban style downtown.

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Thanks for the great article and rendering 1337hax0r!! Thats a great design IMO, like others have said its too bad its not downtown, but hey its still in the city and is a good economic development for West Knoxville.

Glad to see you around, hope to see you post some more! We need more East Tennessee content.

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Unfortunately, the article also makes the point that the city really is not committed to building up its downtown. It looks like Knoxville will be just another sprawling example of Generica. That area is already looking like a budding new suburban style downtown.

I share the same fear about Knoxville. That city, IMO, desparately needs some leadership devoted to building up the downtown area. All they have to do is look towards Chattanooga or Nashville and they will see a blueprint on how to get the process started. Knoxville has sooooo much potential, and I sincerely hope that the city doesn't turn into another "sprawling example of Generica." They've already gotten a good start toward that very result.

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I share the same fear about Knoxville. That city, IMO, desparately needs some leadership devoted to building up the downtown area. All they have to do is look towards Chattanooga or Nashville and they will see a blueprint on how to get the process started. Knoxville has sooooo much potential, and I sincerely hope that the city doesn't turn into another "sprawling example of Generica." They've already gotten a good start toward that very result.

Unfortunately, their new mayor Haslam doesn't have much incentive to build up the downtown core. After all, his family's fortune was made from gas stations. More sprawl, more cars, more gas... you got a problem with that?

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You bet I do. I absolutely hate sprawl and the results of it...freeways which are disguised as parking lots, seemingly endless driving, and parking lots as far as the eye can see.

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You bet I do. I absolutely hate sprawl and the results of it...freeways which are disguised as parking lots, seemingly endless driving, and parking lots as far as the eye can see.

Sorry if my sarcasm wasn't more pronounced. I understand the problems too well... here in Atlanta.

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Sorry if my sarcasm wasn't more pronounced. I understand the problems too well... here in Atlanta.

I understood that it was sarcasm. I just had to get my two cents in about sprawl because I abhor it so much.

I was down in Atlanta on business on Wednesday. It traffic situation down there just keeps getting worse and worse. I-285 is practically a parking lot already. It was backed up for miles in both directions at 10:00 AM just from heavy flow...no accidents or anything. At the rate Atlanta continues to grow, and assuming nothing changes the current trends as to sprawl and longer commuting distances, I predict that Atlanta will be at complete gridlock in about 20 years.... About 8 million people will be living in what I would consider pure hell! What a mess!

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Hey I hate Urban Sprawl too!!

But about the Fountins, it's going to be a fabulous building, but more importantly will be the first of many. The Parkside drive (pellissipi/i40) area is going to take on a much denser and more Urban setting. This makes a lot of sence since this area is far more lucrative than other pars of town (like downdown). It's also great (in my opinion) to build high rises here as downtown can be reseved and and renovatited in to more of a historic arts and entertainment district.

Hey this isn't the first time there's been high-rise clusters in the burbs. Check out Clayton MO, Century City, CA, and many locations around Atlanta!

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Hey I hate Urban Sprawl too!!

But about the Fountins, it's going to be a fabulous building, but more importantly will be the first of many. The Parkside drive (pellissipi/i40) area is going to take on a much denser and more Urban setting. This makes a lot of sence since this area is far more lucrative than other pars of town (like downdown). It's also great (in my opinion) to build high rises here as downtown can be reseved and and renovatited in to more of a historic arts and entertainment district.

Hey this isn't the first time there's been high-rise clusters in the burbs. Check out Clayton MO, Century City, CA, and many locations around Atlanta!

Do you have specific information of other projects slated for Parkside Dive area? That is clearly a great area for office development, IMO. Suburban office parks are popping up in many other places in Tennessee as well. In the Nashville area alone, there are large suburban office parks in Green Hills, Maryland Farms in Brentwood (this one is huge!), Cool Springs (this one will be huge shortly), and the Nashville airport just to name a few.

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It really reminds us of Columbia, SC. Unfortunately we were there for 4 years and saw very little progress. While we were amazed at Greenville, SC's development.

Not to hijack the thread, but check out the Columbia subforum and check out all of the downtown development that's set to take place in the near future, as well as what's already taking place. Downtown will look TOTALLY different by the end of the decade.

Cool looking modern tower for Knoxville. I rarely hear much news coming from that town, so it's good to see something happening there.

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