When my brother was attending the University of Tennessee in the early 80’s, he said the downtown area was not really where you wanted to be — especially after dark.
Fast forward to 2014 and, after coming to a wedding downtown, his opinion has changed. What did it? A stay at The Oliver Hotel, enjoying not one but THREE meals at Tupelo Honey and the some fun after hours at the Peter Kern Library for a start.
Knoxville city had a vision and Mayor (now Governor) Bill Haslam along with many others wanted to see the downtown area thrive again. They began by starting the “Sundown in the City” free concert. It was a hit with bands such a Bella Flec and Steve Winwood making downtown the place to be Thursday night.
Next thing you know the Farmers’ market was thriving, many new business were popping up (who knew little old Knoxville would be a draw for urban outfitters). Then the International Biscuit Festival and Hola festival made a home here. The ice skating rink on market square was revived during the holidays, and after a 10-year investment in the city, their mission was accomplished — downtown is thriving.
The Metropolitan Planning Commission did a study (with my help) during the down turn of the economy and found that the city’s investment was safe — sales remained steady downtown as well as values. Click here to read that study.
Other than the typical complaints you hear about in most downtown city areas: hard to find parking, no centrally located grocery store … Knoxville has partnered with businesses to help alleviate these. Food City opened up off of Western Avenue to help accommodate the demand for grocery stores located nearby and developers plan to bring a Walmart and a Publix grocery store to the former Fulton Bellows site near the University of Tennessee campus.
With new grocery delivery service websites and apps that are finding success in larger metropolitan test markets, I’ve no doubt that this problem would be resolved in the not too far future.
*Data below is based on MLS info. from 12/2013 – 12/2014:
- Average sold price: $324,268
- Average square feet: 1,448
- Average days on market: 119