New Development Coming to 109 South Broadway . . . Eventually

As first reported by Compass (if you don’t have a subscription, you can fix that here), Hatcher Hill owns the property at 109 S. Broadway and has plans to redevelop it. It sits across Broadway from Balter Brewing, and across World’s Fair Park Drive from the Keener Lighting building, which is mixed use. The plans became public as the group applied to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance to allow for their plans on the property. The variance was approved last night.

So what does all this mean?

In a phone conversation, Tim Hill explained that the variance was required because of the requirement to build within 20 feet of the boundary of the property in this zone. Generally speaking, this is part of the effort to make buildings address the street in an urban setting, rather than having them situated behind rows of parking spaces. That isn’t a problem for this project along Broadway, but the site also borders World’s Fair Park Drive and, as you can see in the photo included here, it has a large retention wall on the property.

Aerial View of 109 South Broadway, Home of Future Development, Knoxville, June 2023
Retaining Wall at 109 South Broadway, Home of Future Development, Knoxville, June 2023

Hill said the wall had failed at least once before, several years ago, and they simply need to be further back from it to make sure they don’t have any issues. They had roughly an additional four feet added to the usual requirements. So, the project is a go, right?

Well, it’s complicated. First, there is more work to do and likely more approvals to accumulate before construction can begin. He pointed out it has taken the company three years to navigate to this point. The other issue for the company is that they do not want to be involved in two large downtown projects simultaneously, and their focus right now is on the Lone Tree Pass project on the 200 block of Gay Street. For that project, they’ve had to do re-design due to soil issues and that has slowed them down.

109 South Broadway, Home of Future Development, Knoxville, June 2023

So what is the project?

It is a five-story, mixed use development with a largely brick façade facing Broadway. It would contain 42 apartments (in its current iteration) and 5,000 square feet of retail space along Broadway. Parking would be included both below and behind the building. It would help fill out a node that includes Balter, Keener, and the Southeastern Glass Building. It would make three buildings with residents and add fourth with commercial space. The topography, trainyard, and Interstate would likely combine to thwart any further development at that spot on Broadway. Redevelopment of the McClung site could expand it.