Major Project for South Waterfront

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Major Project for South Waterfront

Posted: 12/11/2007
The City of Knoxville and Southshore Properties LLC announced plans today for a major project located in the city's 20-year South Waterfront redevelopment plan area.

The cooperative effort includes construction of 137 new residential units with an estimated value of $58.6 million by Southshore Properties - a newly-formed partnership between Mike and Kelly Conley and Mike Stevens - north of the intersection of Barber Street and Langford Avenue in conjunction with $10.7 million worth of street and park improvements by the city.

Among those city improvements will be a new five-acre riverfront park and a 1,800-feet long section of the eventual 3-mile long Riverwalk.

Mayor Bill Haslam, the Conleys, Stevens, and Dave Hill, senior director of the city's South Waterfront Development announced the creation of the new firm and released the details of its first project during a press conference in the 5 th Floor Atrium of the City County Building.

Construction of the new housing, as well as the city's improvements, could begin by the summer of 2008 and will stretch across several acres of riverfront in South Knoxville.

The group said the city and the partnership would work together in a coordinated effort designed to make their respective projects more successful.

"This is a critical initial step toward revitalizing our South Waterfront," Haslam said. "This is a major project that will include quality development and bolster the city's property tax base, while at the same time citizens will have access to the river and be able to enjoy a new park."

"I am also encouraged that we will be able to work with Mike and Kelly Conley and Mike Stevens because they recognize the attractiveness and value that these amenities will add to their development," he added.

The Conley's own the property where the residences will be built and Mike Stevens, a prominent local homebuilder, will provide the development expertise to handle project management and construction.

"We have been working on plans to develop this property for quite some time," said Kelly Conley. "The leadership and support for South Waterfront revitalization shown by Mayor Haslam has been very important, and Dave Hill has been a very positive force in coordinating the details. I am really looking forward to the day when construction starts and the plans become reality."

"This is a terrific opportunity for a public-private partnership that will help bring the community's vision to reality," said Mike Stevens. "I'm excited about the partnership with the Conleys and working the Haslam administration and the South Knoxville community. The planning and design team is the most talented group that I have had the opportunity to work with - the Hargreaves consulting team, Barge Wagner Sumner and Cannon, Jeff Pfeifer, and Jerry Eschman Custom Home Designs."

The new units will include a mix of owner-occupied townhouses and condominiums that will occupy about four acres while the entire project will open up at least another four acres for future development.

In conjunction with the Southshore work Haslam and Hill said the city would move forward with construction of several public improvements in the area that are envisioned in the South Waterfront Vision Plan.

 Those include:

A roundabout (traffic circle) will be constructed at the realigned intersection of Sevier Avenue, Island Home Avenue, and Lincoln Street; Reconstruction of Lincoln Street will extend it approximately 600 feet from the new roundabout to the river; A new public boat ramp and pier will be built at the end of Lincoln Street; A new segment of River Road will be built parallel to the river, extending 1,800 feet from Lincoln Street to Barber Street; Reconstruction of Langford Avenue (no Right-of-Way acquisition on south side); Side street extensions of Barber, Claude, Dixie, and a yet-to-be named street will be built, connecting to Langford Avenue; A 5-acre riverfront park will be created; and A 1,800-feet long segment of the riverwalk will be built parallel to the River Road.

The cost of these public improvements is estimated to be $10.7 million, excluding the cost of land acquisition.

Surveys, title work, and appraisals are being conducted to determine the cost of the estimated 9- acres needed for the public improvements, and environmental studies will be undertaken to obtain permits for some of the proposed development. The cost of the public improvements and land purchases will be paid using tax increment financing (TIF) revenue from the South Waterfront Redevelopment District.

In addition to the new residences along the river the development could open up another four acres along River Road and Lincoln Street for development and Hill indicted the value of development there could also exceed $50 million. When completed, the Southshore Properties project is estimated to generate more than $800,000 annually in property taxes. If all properties along Lincoln Street and River Road are developed, the annual property taxes would be more than $1.5 million.

"This project is very encouraging because it implements several objectives contained in the Vision Plan for the South Waterfront," said Dave Hill. "A lot of citizens stayed the course for more than 2 years to complete the planning part of the project  now they'll be able to see the results of their hard work. It's my hope that the Southshore project begins building momentum for more investment and redevelopment."

Next steps for the project will include Phase I environmental assessments and permitting, completion of final design and construction documents for the public improvements, acquisition of property by the City, and determination of performance measures for both the public and private parts of the project.

For further information, please contact Dave Hill, Sr. Director of South Waterfront Development, 865-215-3764, or Mike Stevens, Southshore Properties, 865-454-3106.