City offers EZ Blighted Properties Redevelopment Program

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City offers EZ Blighted Properties Redevelopment Program

Posted: 05/07/2007
The City of Knoxville's Community Development Division will award $1.9 million to help renovate rundown housing or build new homes on blighted and vacant properties in the city's Empowerment Zone. The funding supports the EZ Blighted Properties Redevelopment Program that is aimed at encouraging individuals and businesses to develop affordable housing within the zone. Currently Community Development is seeking proposals from anyone interested in obtaining a part of that financing - which will be awarded primarily in the form of zero or low-interest loans.

There will also be some grants and subsidies available, if necessary, to make a project affordable for a low-to-moderate income purchaser."We think this is a great program because it helps people buy homes who might not be able to afford to do that otherwise," said Mayor Bill Haslam. "That increase in home ownership, in turn, increases the stability of neighborhoods and makes them stronger. "The program's funds must be used to renovate existing dwellings or for the development of new ones - ranging in size from one to four units - on specific properties within the city's EZ boundaries.

A list of eligible properties will be posted on the city's website at Community Development will accept proposals until Sept. 30, 2009, or until all the funds are committed. Applications for the first round of funding, however, must be received at the Community Development Office, by May 31, to be considered by a review committee in June.That committee will ultimately decide which proposals will receive awards based on criteria available from Community Development.

The committee will continue to meet monthly after that to consider new applications - again until all the funds are committed. There won't be any principal or interest payments during the term of the EZ redevelopment loans. However, the loans must be repaid within six months of the loan closing and the city anticipates that successful applicants will sell the developed properties or obtain permanent loan financing as soon as the project is completed. The city wants to make this loan program a revolving one, meaning that when the builders pay off their loans, Community Development will take the repaid money and loan it out again.

The city's 16-square-mile Empowerment Zone includes downtown Knoxville and radiates out of it to encompass the Mechanicsville, Lonsdale, Five Points, Morningside, Fourth & Gill, Fort Sanders, Old Sevier and Vestal neighborhoods, among others. About 48,000 of the city's residents live within the zone's boundaries. The Partnership for Neighborhood Improvement, or PNI, is the governing body for the EZ and has allocated $1,884,000 to the city for the Blighted Properties Redevelopment Program. The city will administer the loan program. Knoxville's Empowerment Zone was established several years ago by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The intent of the EZ program is to spark economic development and other opportunity in those neighborhoods. A copy of formal request for proposals, applications and other information about the EZ Blighted Properties Redevelopment Program can be obtained at the Community Development office on the fifth floor of the City County Building. The information is also available at or by contacting the Community Development at 215-2120.