The Downtown Knoxville Ten Day Planner (12/4 – 12/13/2016)

Alley Between Cafe Four and Tomato Head, Knoxville, October 2016

Alley Between Cafe Four and Tomato Head, Knoxville, October 2016

If you want to be certain your event is included on this calendar, I’ll need your event two weeks in advance. The absolute best way to make sure I include your event is to make a FB event and invite me – two weeks in advance. My FB “events” are the one place I’ll go to every time – if you invite me before I write the post.

If you see an event I’ve missed and you’d like to plug, please comment below. I am no longer able to add to the list events about which I was not informed in advance – it’s just gotten too big, and that’s a good thing. Staying true to the scope of the blog, I’ll only list downtown or near-downtown events. Any number of venues outside of downtown have some great events, but I have to draw a line somewhere. If you want to add those in a comment, that’s fine. Please “Friend” me (Alan Sims) on Facebook and invite me to your events. Look over to the right of this post and not only “friend” me, but “like” Inside of Knoxville. Subscribe (also to the right) to make sure you catch all the posts.

Want to get the word out more directly and get more eyes on your event or business? Consider placing a front page ad! For $300 (or $425 for an ad twice as large) you get a full month exposure to around 40,000 different people (and growing). Contact me for details @ KnoxvilleUrbanGuy@gmail.com.

Sunday, December 4

  • Nativity Scene, Krutch Park Extension, 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Knoxcentric: Powered by Inside of Knoxville, Special Guests Kelley Segars and Jon Livengood discussing Cycling in the City and the Tour de Lights, WUTK 90.3 FM, 10:00 AM
  • Jazz Brunch @ 5 Bar, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Shifflet’s Jazz Benedict, Bistro at the Bijou, Noon – 2:00 PM
  • Ijams Holiday Marketplace, Ijams Nature Center, Noon – 5:00 PM
  • Jazz Brunch at Downtown Grill and Brewery, 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Old North Knoxville’s Victorian Holiday Home Tour, Old North, 12:30 PM – 5:00 PM, $10/$15
  • The Christmas Lantern Express, Three Rivers Rambler Depot, 1:00 PM, and 4:15 PM, $8 – $27
  • Broadway at the Tennessee presents, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” 1:30 PM, $38 – $78
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 2:00 PM, $15 – $32
  • Solidarity Circle for Standing Rock, Market Square, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Detroit Dave – A Celebration Of Life, A Musical/Storytelling Send Off in Honor of Detroit Dave Meer Who Recently Died, Donations Accepted Toward Funeral Costs, The International, 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • The Appalachian Ballet Company presents “The Nutcracker,” Civic Auditorium, 3:00 PM, $29 – $44
  • Godspell, Jr: The Musical,” Knoxville Children’s Theatre, 3:00 PM, $12
  • Seasonal Allergies,” Theatre Knoxville Downtown, 3:00 PM, $15
  • Knoxville Community Band, Bijou Theatre, 3:00 PM
  • Book signing and talk with William C. McDonald III, author of The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald, Wingman to Chennault, Union Avenue Books, 2:00 PM
  • Benefit for Fire Victims with Mitch Garza/Roach Eaters/Criswell Collective/Big Bad Oven, Pilot Light, 6:00 PM, Donation
  • Broadway at the Tennessee presents, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” 6:30 PM, $38 – $78 SOLD OUT
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 7:30 PM, $15 – $32
  • Upstairs Underground, Open Mic Comedy, Preservation Pub, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Einstein Simplified Comedy Improv Show, Special Two Person Show, Scruffy City Hall, 8:15 – 10:00 PM
  • Charles Walker Band, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM

Monday, December 5

  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: Les Kerr/Carey Ott, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • Mighty Musical Monday with the Wurlitzer Organ and the O’Connor Singing Seniors, Tennessee Theatre, Noon, Free
  • WDVX Holiday Open House, Meet hosts/staff, Tour the Studio, Refreshments, Visitor Center, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Friendly Town Comedy Troup, Pilot Light, 7:30 PM, Free
  • Electric Pheasant Poetry Slam, Scruffy City Hall, 8:00 PM
  • New Radio Dialect, Barley’s, 10:00 PM
  • The Mallett Brothers, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM

Tuesday, December 6

  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: Doug Wilhite/Scott High Bluegrass Band, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • City Council Meeting, Main Assembly Room City County Bldg., 6:00 PM
  • East Tennessee Regional Student Art Reception, Knoxville Museum of Art, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Handmade Bath Workshop, The Central Collective, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM, $32
  • Singer/Songwriter Open Mic, Preservation Pub Speakeasy, 7:00 PM
  • Old Time Jam with Sarah Pirkle, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 7:15 PM
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 7:30 PM, $15 – $26
  • Public Cinema, World premiere of “Shade” by Cuyler Ballenger & Julian Tran, U.S. premiere of “Never Eat Alone” by Sofia Bohdanowicz, Pilot Light, 7:30 PM, Free
    18+ $Free
  • Einstein Simplified, Scruffy City Hall, 8:00 PM
  • Mike Birbiglia, “Thank God For Jokes,” Bijou Theatre, 8:00 PM, $40
  • Rittz, The Concourse at the International, 9:00 PM, $15/$20/$65
  • Pale Root, Barley’s, 10:00 PM
HearthScares Tour, Knoxville, October 2016

HearthScares Tour, Knoxville, October 2016

Wednesday, December 7

  • Pulp Painting Workshop, Knoxville Museum of Art, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Jazz Lunch with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, “Tribute to Ornette Coleman with Mike Bagetta, Noon, $15 (includes lunch)
  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: Kiel Grove/Three Star Revival, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • Dine and Discover: “The Miniature World,” Knoxville Museum of Art, Noon – 1:00 PM
  • City People Holiday Party & Annual Meeting, Visitor Center, 6:30 PM, Free
  • Tennessee Shines presents the Jon Stickley Trio, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 7:00 PM, $10
  • Jeremy Wright Trio (jazz), Bistro at the Bijou, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • A Christmas Carol,” Clarence Brown Theatre, 7:30 PM, $15 – $26
  • Slim Cessna’s Auto Club/Horcerer/Jimmy and the Jawbones, Pilot Light, 9:00 PM, $12
  • Slander/Nghtmare, The International, 9:00 PM, $20 – $30
  • Georgia Flood and Christina Lopez, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM

Thursday, December 8

Friday, December 9

Saturday, December 10

Fireworks Over the Tennessee River, Knoxville, October 2016

Fireworks Over the Tennessee River, Knoxville, October 2016

Sunday, December 11

Monday, December 12

  • Beautiful, Vibrant Alcohol Inks Workshop, Knoxville Museum of Art, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, $50/$65
  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: The 2016 Kerrville New Folk Winners, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • The Knoxville Nativity Pageant, Knoxville Coliseum, 7:00 PM, Free (Donations Accepted)
  • Friendlytown Comedy Troupe, Pilot Light, 7:30 PM, Free
  • Cycles/Crystal Bright and Silver Hands, Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM
  • Dirk Quinn Band, Barley’s, 10:00 PM

Tuesday, December 13

  • Beautiful, Vibrant Alcohol Inks Workshop, Knoxville Museum of Art, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, $50/$65
  • WDVX Blue Plate Special: Greta Ziller/Hymn for Her, Visitor Center, Noon, Free
  • Gypsy Circus Pastry Pairing & Giveaway, Sugar Mama’s, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Matt Nelson/Garrit Tillman/Jake Edward Smith, Pilot Light, 6:00 PM, Free
  • Singer/Songwriter Open Mic, Preservation Pub Speakeasy, 7:00 PM
  • Old Time Jam with Sarah Pirkle, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 7:15 PM
  • Einstein Simplified, Scruffy City Hall, 8:00 PM
  • Jeff the Brotherhood, Pilot Light, 10:00 PM, $12
  • 90.3 WUTK Ya’llternative presents Hymn for Her, Barley’s, 10:00 PM

An Interesting Look at Development: Value and Cost

Knoxville Skyline

Knoxville Skyline

The fact that we are making decisions today that impact the future of our city is no secret. It’s important, then, that we understand the impact of those decisions on our future. We have finite resources and we’d like to get the most value for them we possibly can attain, right? That, in a nutshell, was the message delivered by Joe Minicozzi of Urban3, LLC out of Asheville when he addressed a crowd gathered at the Knox County Health Department earlier this week.

The thing is, we don’t really consider the true costs and earning potential of the assets we have, by which he primarily meant, the land available to us. There is a city limit and a county limit and the revenue we can produce from the area contained therein is all we have. But we don’t think about it in terms of maximization of value.

img_0012

img_0018

He gave an example of the owner of a massive pickup bragging that his truck is the most efficient vehicle because it can go farther than the other cars on a single tank of gas. Of course, we know his tank is far larger than that of a smart car or Prius, so we insist the comparison be equitable: miles per gallon, not per tank.

In terms of development in cities, he pointed out we’ve been building cities in a similar fashion for hundreds of years and the reason for that is economic. With that, he pointed out that our property taxes are based on value, meaning the incentive for builders or developers who are going to have to pay taxes on that property once it is completed, is to build cheap buildings. Most currently being constructed (think Walmart) are constructed to last fifteen years, during which time they are depreciated, then abandoned. The big tax boon they are supposed to bring is minimal compared to other kinds of development.

When you start to think about the per-acre earning potential of the land included in the city (or county) limits, doesn’t it make sense for us to maximize those earnings? That’s where urban vs. suburban development enters the picture. He pointed out that cities carry the weight of taxation for counties.

img_0020

img_0022

img_0025

Not so? That big Walmart pays hundreds of thousands in taxes? Yes, but how many acres do they consume of our only natural resource, in order to pay that amount? It made me think about my urban and my last suburban home. I suspect many county residents don’t know it, but the rate for my county taxes didn’t change when I moved. Still based on value of my property, it remained level since the values were comparable. Of course, I also began paying a similar amount in city taxes.

So what, you say? You are paying the same and you still live in the county. Here’s where the truck analogy from above comes in. The footprint of my current home is a little more than half my last home because it is on multiple levels and is slightly smaller. To get the value of my current taxes per acre, the amount I pay would have to be multiplied by 51. My suburban home included a yard totaling about a third of an acre. So, the multiple for my suburban home was 3. The county gets seventeen times more for urban homes like mine vs. suburban homes per acre. And per acre is really all that matters, because that is our asset.

The example above is my own, but when you factor in tall urban buildings, the multiples are much more extreme. The taller the building the more efficient the use of land and the greater the per acre return on investment. Walmarts and malls with their massive surface areas have a very low return on investment per acre. Consider that West Town Mall, as valuable as it is, is the same size as our downtown (when you include the parking lot. Do you think downtown might be a little more valuable than West Town Mall? I think so.

img_0034

img_0036

But none of that addresses cost. What is the cost of development and isn’t that borne by developers? Well, some of it, but not all of it. Developers expect the city or the county to run utilities and roads to the development. If the development is ten miles away as opposed to near already existing development, the costs are much lower. After the initial costs, there is maintenance of all those lines, pipes and roads running to the new developments.

If it is a neighborhood, of course, developers pave the streets of the new subdivision, right? Yes. And then they give them to the county or city! Meaning the city or county must now maintain new roads. There are no new roads to an in-fill development in a city. The pipes and lines are already there.

So, the upshot is that Walmart or neighborhood out in the county costs a lot more than building in dense, urban area. Both initial and long-term costs are higher. And the return? Significantly less. So a subdivision in West Knoxville generates more income for the county than empty land, but it also brings costs and it doesn’t produce the revenue of dense development.

I think the photographs of his slides are self-explanatory, for the most part (remember, you can click them to see a larger version), but the take-aways include that a single family home returns more in taxes per acre than a Walmart. A multi-family or mixed use building obliterates either and doesn’t require the infrastructure costs (assuming it is located in a dense area. This holds true even when you factor in sales tax generation and job creation.

img_0029

img_0030

The two photos just above this paragraph warrant a little more description. In one you see two branches of the same bank. The more urban design of the small town bank – taller and with no parking lot – generates about three times as much revenue per acre. The other picture is from Chattanooga. On the left is the proposed development by an Atlanta group. To the right is the proposal as it was altered by Urban3. Their recommendation was ignored, yielding Chattanooga about 1/6 of the tax revenue they would have obtained with the more dense model.

Which brings up codes and policies. Codes and policies should be looking at maximizing the success of the business – in this case the city and the county. Urban policies succeed at this more than suburban policies. When we subvert or work around best practices, we lose money, meaning we lose quality of life we could be purchasing. Public policy should take into account the cost of development. As Mr. Minicozzi noted, more infrastructure equals fewer teachers, policemen and amenities.

img_0038

His recommendations include charging for the land, rather than the value of the structures on the land. In this model, a parking lot, for example would be taxed at the same rate as a dense urban building. It makes owning a parking lot a losing proposition and encourages getting more value for the land. He also advocated high taxes for speculators holding buildings and making no progress to bring them into use, saying they are damaging the city by neglecting the land – our resource.

So, what will we do going forward? Will we adhere to good urban design because it makes sense for our future or will we yield to pressure to bend the rules for a fast, but greatly reduced return? It’s a good frame of reference for us to consider as we make those individual decisions which will lead to the Knoxville of tomorrow.

End Note: I hope you each have a great weekend. Tonight is the annual Christmas parade and the weekend is filled with many great activities like the Old North Victorian Home Tour and more. Be sure to tune in at 10:00 AM Sunday morning to WUTK, 90.3 or stream it on your computer when I’m joined on Knoxcentric: Powered by Inside of Knoxville by Kelley Segars and Jon Livengood to discuss the upcoming Tour de Lights and all things cycling in Knoxville.

Downtown Knoxville Retailer, Rala, Announces Move to Old City

Daniel Bldg., Future Home of Rala, Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, November 2016

As I talked with Nanci Solomon, owner of Rala, and long time owner of Reruns, she pointed out that she opened Rala the same month I started writing this blog: June of 2010. At the time, she also operated Reruns, which later moved from 2 Market Square … [Continue reading]

Scott West’s, The Crook Books: Volume One, “Good Intentioned Bad Guys” to be Released Friday

Scott West Posing with Art Work from The Crook Books, Volume One, "Good Intentioned Bad Guys," Knoxville, November 2016

You've likely never read a book quite like this one (pre-order here). If you know Scott West, co-owner and operator of Preservation Pub, Scruffy City Hall and Market House Cafe, that doesn't surprise you. Written during his time in the Blount County … [Continue reading]

Charles Ervin, Long Term Old City Personality, Dies

Charles Ervin, Old City, Knoxville, March 2016

While others around downtown have known him much longer and better than me, I met him last spring as I photographed the proposed site for a community garden. Reclined on an old fire escape on the backside of an industrial building, crutches due to … [Continue reading]