Current Construction on the South Side of Downtown

Apartments and Commercial Construction, 726 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, February 2020

There is so much construction going on all around the downtown area that it’s easy to miss the progress and suddenly notice a new building has appeared. I took a walk around downtown and into South Knoxville to check on some of the projects underway and realized a lot had happened since I’d last tuned in. Today we’ll take a look at several of those projects.

First up is the new construction at 736 Sevier Avenue. The City South project, originally designed by SBL Investment Properties, is now operated by Dominion Group. Plans call for a three-story building with 120 apartments and 3,000 square feet of commercial space, most of which will be occupied by the headquarters of Conley Entertainment Group.

Apartments and Commercial Construction, 726 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, February 2020

With the scale of the project now coming into view, it’s apparent how much the streetscape will be altered. The most recent information I have is that plans call for opening this summer, though that could have changed. You’ll find my original article with details about the project here.

Foggy Bottom Flats, Foggy Bottom Road, Knoxville, February 2020

Foggy Bottom Flats, Foggy Bottom Road, Knoxville, February 2020

Foggy Bottom Flats, Foggy Bottom Road, Knoxville, February 2020

Foggy Bottom Flats, Foggy Bottom Road, Knoxville, February 2020

Just down Sevier at Foggy Bottom Road, near the eastern entrance to Suttree Landing Park, Foggy Bottom Flats are quickly taking shape. The 1,100 square foot modern town homes are broken into two rows of buildings with seven units in each. The hope of having them occupied by the end of 2019 didn’t happen, but they seem to be moving rapidly in that direction. My original article about this project can be found here.

Pavilion, Suttree Landing Park, Knoxville, February 2020

Kayak Launch, Suttree Landing Park, Knoxville, February 2020

Just down the hill from the Foggy Bottom project, at the eastern edge of Suttree Landing Park, amenities have been added that I believe deserve a mention. The new pavilion includes tables with shelter and restrooms, both of which are welcome additions to the park. Nearby, the promised kayak docks await better weather. These small touches make the park even more inviting.

The Overlook, Hill Avenue, Knoxville, February 2020

The Overlook, Hill Avenue, Knoxville, February 2020

The Overlook, Hill Avenue, Knoxville, February 2020

Back across the river, The Overlook on Hill Avenue is rapidly rising at last. It will soon be two years since the ten-unit luxury apartment development was announced here. Originally priced starting at around $600,000, eight of the ten units have been sold.

Supreme Court Site, Henley Street, Knoxville, February 2020

Supreme Court Site, Henley Street, Knoxville, February 2020

Finally, for today, I’ve included photographs from the Supreme Court site in which a significant portion of a block that has been surface parking for a generation is being converted to apartments, and the original Supreme Court site is being developed as a short-term stay hotel. Despite the recent rainy weather, the parking lot has been removed and site preparation for the underground level of parking has begun. You can see the plans here.

There are other projects, of course. Not pictured here are the apartments springing up on the ridge behind the Kerns building on Chapman Highway. Additionally, there are several projects on the north end of downtown which I’ll cover in an article next week.


  1. i noticed the photo of the overlook and i actually went by the site the other day myself. dont think the t will ever be built. it is supposed to go next door, but from what i can tell, there isnt much room in the space next to the overlook, and if the t is builit it looks like it would have to be a very thin building on the hill avenue side. but i havent heard any news about it. i just dont think it is going to be built. wasted space again. and as far as the overlook, i think the space there and with the proposed t could have been used to build a much more dramatic, beautiful building. i think a lot of the things being built are ruining downtown. so much more greater vision could be utilized i believe. oh, well…………..

    • Why so negative? Just because not your preference does not make it bad

    • The plans for the T mostly involve the massive area behind the overlook. Now this does cause a problem for the overlook bc they for some reason assumed that nothing would ever exist in the massive lot between it and the river.

      If I remember correctly, the T is currently held up bc the city would like more residences not more student residences.

      • As they should. Other people have more of a reason to live downtown, outside of walking distance to campus.

      • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

        The developers behind the Overlook knew this was coming well before they started construction. New home owners were given the choice of orienting their residence toward the river or toward the city with this likelihood understood. A river view would be great, but that is a lovely street, as well.

    • I’m sure it will get shot down by the city. Then we can add it to the list of towers that were never built. Eventually some 4 or 5 story building will be built and the city will rejoice. Isn’t it sad the newest tower to be build downtown was in 1985. That’s 35 years ago. I struggle to accept that downtown has come very far. Especially if you compare to other cities our size across the country. Look at Des Moines Iowa Little Rock Arkansas, Grand Rapids Michigan, Shreveport Louisiana, Providence RI. Just to name a few.

      • yes jay, i totally agree. someone had better pound it into the citys heads that downtown is too small to let these small buildings continue to be built and ruin any hope that taller buldings hold more room for new people to move into downtown, and when the city runs out of space for new larger buildings, the downtown is gonna die because there will be no more room. and as far as you jay, im not being negative at all just because i state my preferences. you are totally missing my point. but i think more should be done with these smaller lots.

        • You can be that “somebody” and contact your City Council representative and ask to begin a zoning process that has a very tall minimum height for all new buildings. That is how you effect change. Of course you might get more than just a bit of push back from others. FYI there was a very public downtown design guidelines process a few years ago and a reconsideration of all land use under the years long Recode process that went went live on Jan 1, 2020. Not a single person made this suggestion. Rather some wanted to restrict building heights around northern edge of the downtown area.

          • Bill- excellent points. High rise urban density has its place, and city codes such as C2 (most of downtown) have no height or parking restrictions. Expensive construction costs are the most challenging issue facing taller buildings.
            As a side note, buildings of 5-7 stories can be very pleasant; especially for pedestrians. Would you rather go for a walk in NYC in SoHo or Midtown?

          • Rick, you’re so right. SoHo is a beautiful area to walk through. Midtown is a series of high rises that lack the character and charm of SoHo, Chelsea, East Village, etc.

      • and actually jay, i dont know what tower youre referring to in 85. the last new taller building i think was the bb&t building next to the church on main st. but i think it was later than that. and i dont think it is that tall. now the last one im referring to is the regions bank on gay st. but it was finished in 81. and the first tennessee building, now first horizon was finished in 78 i believe. they had different names then though. i really am looking forward to new skyscrapes of say 35, or 40 stories or more being developed to make a more dramatic skyline. but with the spaces being taken up by these smaller, uglier buildings being built, i just dont see it happening, unless it is aroung the core of the city. space is running out.

        • Yes I was referring to the BB&T. I know it’s hardly considered a tower but it is the second tallest building in downtown. Anyhow, I’ve accepted that Knoxville skyline will probably never change much or be very impressive…but hey as long as it keep progressing and moving forward that’s good right!?! If we could land a new department store and a couple other retail stores we don’t currently have, some new attractions, and keep filling in the empty holes I’d be pretty cool with that. Oh and the pedestrian bridge over the Tennessee would be sweet. Not much to ask for. 😂

          • well, finally someone on here seems to agree a little with my point of view. and i do know a cities growth usually depends on population swings. but the downtown terrain doesnt lean toward much booming growth as far as towers go i guess. the bluff there on chapman hwy is one i can think of right off hand, even though i do know that a lot of people are glad fort dickerson is there and meads quarry on the other side too and the urban wilderness and all of that. im just saying that area to the west side of henley isnt conducive to much growth what with the bluffs below cherokee and all of that. now, i do think a grander vision of the east side of gay st. on the south side of the river could be brought forth, more than just all of these small businesses, which seem to be mostly breweries nowadays. and dont comment on how they are very popular and other kinds of businesses that are opening there, because i truly keep up with everything happening not only in south knoxville, but all over the city on a daily basis. and i really am not trying to be negative about any new business because of course all of them are appreciated and needed. i am like so many others just stating my opinion. and the bb&t used to be called riverview tower i do believe.

        • Then use your money to build them. Oh wait..

      • No offense Jay, but hearing you say downtown has not come very far makes me think you were not very familiar with the downtown Knoxville of the 90s. I have lived in and out of the area since the 80s and the energy that pulsates from downtown now on a regular basis and the population growth that is occurring would have been unimaginable 20 years ago. I have been to a few of the other downtowns that you mentioned and would gladly take the experiences you can get in Knoxville. Knoxville may not appear as impressive when one goes speeding by on the interstate as those cities, but I hardly feel that should be the way that it is judged. With all of that being said, I would love to see a tower greater than 20 stories constructed, but I just don’t think it is as critical as some think.

        • Seriously Ryan? Downtown Knoxville is moving at a snails pace and has for 35 years. Nashville has thrown up 30 twenty story buildings in the last 5 years and the knuckle headed leaders of knoxville let project after project slip away. It seems like there is a limit of 6 stories on ANYTHING built in downtown Knoxville. The pedestrian bridge cancelled. Hill Avenue tower cancelled. New civic auditorium cancelled. Downtown electric tram laughed at. Downtown baseball stadium.
          Cancelled. Any way you shape it, Knoxville has not grown anywhere near what other cities the same size have achieved. During these last 4 years of history shattering economic growth in the country, Knoxville hasn’t built anything over 6 stories tall. Sad commentary on the poor leadership in this otherwise fine city.

      • sorry, jay i meant to say as far as you alex as pertaining to his comment that i was being negative.

      • Those are soulless cities with no character. No thanks.

  2. Unfortunately, the nice new restrooms at Suttree Landing Park is a have already been occupied by the homeless for overnight lodging, so I don’t predict a long shelf life for them.

  3. Alan – don’t forget Soith High just over the hill from Sevier Ave.
    It’ll be the finest assisted living we’ve ever built. Opens mid April.

  4. Love seeing urban development move further south, even down Chapman Highway. Maybe we can knock down those boarded up gas stations too. I don’t think the muffler shop owner is going to want to move any time soon though since he just repainted the entire building, but at least it’s a successful business.

    • yeah, the area with those empty buildings before you get to the railroad tracks on chapman hwy is an eyesore. something more grand could be utilized there. one big detriment to that area being developed is the terrain, such as the tracks on blount and the only 2 lane road, and the hills at fort dickerson and the area behind all of the fast food restaurants. some one surely could have a solution to this.

  5. Any idea when development will come to “downtown” Vestal (intersection where King Tut’s and furniture store are)? That area would make a nice set of “mixed use” residential/stores. Would need to make that area more pedestrian/bike friendly to UT/downtown, though.

  6. Fact: South Knoxville is just spicy Karns.

  7. Those are always the trade-offs. Soulless cities that make money or cities with lots of character but not as many higher-paying jobs. Does Knoxville have enough people making a certain amount of salary to live downtown? As Knox County/Knoxville and its leaders approach this decade, that will remain the central question.

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