At Knox Area Chamber Partnership offices at 17 Market Square,
February 27, 2007 - The Knox County
Mayor's Office will seek public input on possible uses for two sites
in Downtown Knoxville at a meeting Thursday, March 1 from 5:30-8:00
p.m. The meeting will be held at the Knox Area Chamber Partnership
offices at 17 Market Square, #201.
The nearly one-acre site at the corner of Church Avenue and State
Street is the former location of the Knoxville News Sentinel. The
four-acre State Street site, bounded by
S. Central, State, Union and Commerce Streets, has remained unused
for almost a decade since Knox County assembled several parcels
at this site for a proposed Justice Center.
The City of Knoxville conveyed the former News Sentinel site to
Knox County in exchange for property to build the new Gay Street
Cinema currently under construction. In a separate transaction,
Knox County conveyed the State Street site to the City of Knoxville
as a proposed location for a new Transit Center with Knox County
retaining the "air rights," meaning the county retained
the option to build atop any finished structure. The site will be
transferred back to Knox County soon with the expected designation
of a new Transit Center location.
"We think the continued downtown renewal is important to all
of our citizens and believe the timing is right to make these two
properties part of our revitalization success story," said
Mayor Ragsdale in announcing the call for public input. "Our
office has had several private sector inquiries about these properties.
We believe it is critical that we have a public process to hear
from all stakeholders before proceeding with any long term use of
these two sites."
Ragsdale said the March 1st public meeting will be a chance to
gather information from numerous parties and hear what citizens
think about the future development potential of these sites. The
public meeting will be moderated by facilitator Lynne Fugate, former
executive director of Nine Counties. One Vision., to allow maximum
input from citizens.
After considering public input, the County intends to proceed with
a Request for Proposals for the former News Sentinel site. Any action
on the State Street site will be "on hold" until the City
of Knoxville officially releases it from the Transit Center project.
However, Knox County intends to proceed now with obtaining public
input on its future use.
"These two sites have linkage since both have State Street
access and are only three blocks apart," said Ragsdale. "With
the positive recent developments on Gay Street, certainly what happens
on State Street will contribute to this revitalization synergy."