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ATLBrain

Knoxville

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I've been coming to Knoxville for 13 years, and I've always loved it. The natural beauty of the Smokies foothills and the river/lake at the edge of downtown make for a stunning setting. Knoxville has recently (re)discovered its riverfront (a'la Chattanooga), and big things are on the way.

I was in Knoxville this weekend (actually still am) for the UT-Alabama game. So my view is fresh. Downtown looked great, and there's much under construction in the heart of town. The UT campus is (I think) one of the most beautiful in the country... and finally it's getting a lot of work done (a half billion underway at the moment).

Having said that, I'm surprised we don't have more info on this forum on Knoxville. Granted other cities the same size have a lot of chatter about "some Starbucks and/or Walmart that opened up at some intersection that just got a new traffic light, etc.", and it's not really "urban" development information. But Knoxville has a lot of urban development going on right now. I'm not even referring to Turkey Creek either.

So hopefully, somebody who knows more about Knoxville will post all the things going on. I read in the paper this morning that Sterchi Building is being redone as lofts.

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Downtown Knoxville is also running the highest vacancy rate this decade downtown. It currently stands at 15.9% with 800k sq feet vacant. The figure is expected to go slightly higher before improving because of Kimberly Clarks plans to cut 200 employees. Downtown currently has 67 office buildings the smallest in a long time because of a few teardowns and condo conversions. However demand for class A space is strong, but limited and investors have shown strong interest in buying properties. (Article was in the News Sentinel today)

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I read that article. It's what prompted me to start this thread. The article mentioned that there is very little Class A in DT. Also, the momentum for loft conversions in Class B/C buildings and other old structures is only now beginning to catch on.

Obviously, it will take some time for things to get going full speed like we've seen in other cities, but don't bet against it. Knox county is growing like mad with a projected 70K-80K new residents by 2010. It's also mostly young families too.

Also, the university has only recently begun to pump seed money into new technology companies in the area. I don't think I'm really going out on a limb in saying that the city's future will continue to hinge on technology and tourism. It's probably the prettiest area in/or around the Smokies IMO.

The reasons above are why I put the sub title "sleeper" city. It is after all the gateway to the Smokies.

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