Construction Updates and More

Willow Avenue Elevation, Stockyard Lofts, Knoxville, July 2017

I was startled recently when a reader made a comment about Stockyard Lofts, suggesting they had not started construction and were past completion date. The surprise came when I checked my article about the project and realized the reader was correct! The article was written two years ago with a completion date of last summer for Stockyard Lofts.

It’s a topic of endless interest to many readers: What is being built, when will it be finished, and why hasn’t it been built already? Every time I write an article about a construction project, I get asked about several other projects. I’ve found a little information on various projects for this article. I couldn’t find all the answers, but let’s look at what I did unearth.

Former Old City Stage, Future Home of Stockyard Lofts, Willow Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

Former Old City Stage, Future Home of Stockyard Lofts, Willow Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

View Through to Jackson Avenue, Future Home of Stockyard Lofts, Willow Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

Let’s start with the above mentioned Stockyard Lofts. It turns out that about the time that question was being asked, the project had gotten underway with the staging of equipment and supplies and the beginning of demolition and clearing of the site. Many recent transplants or visitors to downtown may not realize there was once a large covered stage on the property behind Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria.

It was placed there over a decade ago by the Wests who were, coincidentally, partnering with Leigh Burch at the time. Coincidental because Leigh Burch and Daniel Smith are behind the current project, which resulted in the demolition of the stage. It’s interesting to consider that its construction years ago could be considered progress while its current demolition represents the same.

According to the developers, the delay in the project was related to a HUD requirement for a variance on sound coming from the switchyard. Financing was held up pending approval. Everything finally came together to green light the loans at the end of September, allowing construction to begin. Construction should last 18 to 20 months, meaning the apartments should be ready for occupancy in early to mid 2021.

Future Home of Old City Performing Arts Center, 111 State Street, Knoxville, April 2018

Future Home of Old City Performing Arts Center, 111 State Street, Knoxville, April 2018

Rendering of the Old City Performing Arts Center (Courtesy Smee and Busby)

Rendering of the Old City Performing Arts Center (Courtesy Smee and Busby)

Moving on to the Old City, it’s been a while since I gave an update on the Old City Performing Arts Center. I spoke to Joshua Peterson and learned that the project is on track. They’d hoped to have a production this fall, but that will not happen. Instead, expect an open house on First Friday in November, and their first production will be their annual Christmas production of “The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby.” Around the same time as the open house, you should expect a couple of other major announcements, which I’ll tell you about here.

City House Town Homes, Vine Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

City House Town Homes, Vine Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

City House Town Homes, Vine Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

Moving on up the hill from the Old City, curiosity continues about Tim Hill and Hatcher Hill’s project City House on Vine Avenue near Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The exterior, front and back, is nearing completion, and Mr. Hill tells me drywall is being hung on the inside. Once the finishes start, projects move rapidly. One unit is spoken for, with occupancy in January.

City House Town Homes, Vine Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

City House Town Homes, Vine Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

Hillside Behind City House Town Homes, Vine Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019 (Readers had asked how the previous failed retention wall would be handled.)

Well across downtown, down that hill and almost to the river, is The Overlook, a six story development at 608 West Hill Avenue. The development as it stands has ten units. Eight are sold, even though the homes are not quite ready for occupancy. The remaining two are on the second floor and will face Hill Avenue. About half of the others face the Tennessee River. Completion is planned for the summer of 2020.

The Overlook, Hill Avenue, Knoxville, October 2019

Finally, I know many of us are curious regarding the Wild Wing Cafe in the Kress Building on the 400 block of South Gay Street. Signs have been in the windows for months. When I toured the building last March, owner Dave McFarland indicated that he hoped the restaurant would open at the beginning of football season. With no apparent work underway, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher. I reached out to McFarland but got no response in time for this article. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear more.


  1. darrell cox says

    sir, iam confused. you showed a photo of what you said was the overlook construction. but isnt it supposed to be across the street on the north corner of locust and main st. where the empty lot is next to where lord lindsey used to be. i thought the site you were showin in the photo was where the t was supposed to be built. i am really confused about this. is it no longer planned and did the overlook development change locations to there. please fill me in. is the t no longer planned?

    • The T is being built around the overlook.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      To the best of my knowledge, The T is still planned. The Overlook was never intended for the parking lot across the street.

      • darrell cox says

        i guess when i first read the story about the overlook a couple of years ago, i thought it said in the empty lot next to where lord lindsey used to be. i am almost positive it did. well anyway, i cant prove it, but it really doesnt matter. and i have been by the area where the overlook is being built, and i must say there doesnt seem to be much room to the right of it for the t to be built then. i dont understand their reasoning at all about that.

  2. darrell cox says

    sorry. i meant to say on the corner of locust and hill ave.

  3. I feel like there are a lot of projects I hear about lately that we’re supposed to have been complete by now but haven’t started construction. Do you know if they pulled the plug completely on phase 2 of Marble Alley?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      The last time I talked to Buzz Goss, developer of Marble Alley, Marble Alley 2 was still planned. I will try to get an update.

      • Arthur B Carmichael III says

        ‘Any word on what’s going on with the Century Building? Work on the elevator shaft seems to have stopped and the lot next to it was partially torn up and seems to have halted now, as well.

        • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

          What? Two years to build an elevator is too long for you? 🙂 This is Henry and Wallace. It is likely they never actually intended to complete that elevator. I understand the parking lot situation resulted from a collapse and now appears to be serving as a dump. I may do an article on this.

  4. Dan Greene says

    Minor correction. Immaculate Conception is a church, not a cathedral.

  5. Michael Lipps says

    Any updates on Baker Creek Bottoms and/or the Kern’s Bakery development? I’m sure work is happening (and I know you’ve written about both), but it seems like both projects have been in flux for quite some time.

    • I contacted the developer on Facebook last month and he said that it’s just going more slowly than they had hoped but that it is still in the works.

  6. I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember something about the Old City stage that was just removed being installed with the involvement of the CBID and the City of Knoxville. It may have been that CBID dollars were used for some of the funding, though it was on private land. If I’m correct, then I wonder if there was a legal agreement in place

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Not of which I am aware. I am quite certain there is nothing to prevent the current demolition.

      • Actually, we paid for the Old City stage out of pocket. Sad to see the home of one special year of Sundown in the City gone, but that’s just me being nostalgic. All those new residents at Stockyard will feel quite differently I’m sure.

  7. We haven’t heard much news about the “T at Riverfront” lately. Is that one still planned?

  8. Brian Nicholson says

    For future construction reports it would be great If you could credit the architect and general contractor for each project. Thanks.

  9. Stewart Smith says

    So crossing the river there seems to be a lot going on in the Old Sevier Ave area. The Lofts that are next to Honeybee seem to be making progress. The dirt is leveled and there is plumbing coming out of the ground. The condo/apartments behind Landing House are moving rapidly with work present on weekends. The older brick building next to Hi-Wire shows considerable work finished. Apartments going in above street level and a Dress Shop going in at street level. The lower portion of HI-Wire is making way for a Taco Shop, according to Jeff at Three Bears. Thanks for the shout out from your post earlier. I am part of the couple who stopped to talk about the Parking Garage.

  10. Very excited to see Stockyard Lofts get started. I have also found that the City House condos are much more appealing in reality than the renderings. A few months ago the architect for The T, Gamble-Gamble, posted some updated renderings so I took that as a positive. Another project we have heard nothing about is the condo construction at 107 Commerce. I am assuming that one may be dead as there has been little if any mention of it in the 2 1/2 years since you did the original story.

  11. Any update on Kern’s bldg ?

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