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Experts at National Brownfields Conference to Focus on 2 City Reclamation Projects 

McClung Warehouses site on Jackson Avenue
McClung Warehouses site on Jackson Avenue

In early December, Knoxville’s two City-owned EPA-funded brownfield reclamation projects will be in the national spotlight. The two projects will serve as case studies for how Knoxville and other cities that have taken the right initial steps can follow through to fully bring these brownfields back into productive reuse.

Anne Wallace, the City of Knoxville’s Deputy Director of Redevelopment, will be attending the 2017 National Brownfields Conference in Pittsburgh. She will be presenting on the city’s two cleanup grant properties, the former Sanitary Laundry and the former McClung Warehouses sites, at the conference’s Redevelopment Rodeo and the Developer Deals talks.

The discussions put sites from Montana, New York, Oregon and Florida – plus the two Knoxville locations – in front of a team of brownfield redevelopers who have worked with similar properties across the country. Conference attendees will hear from the experts about how these sites are on the path to remediation. The redevelopers will provide recommendations and strategies for the next steps, while encouraging attendees from other communities to ask questions and get take-away information for their own hometown brownfields.

The Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) is blogging about the featured brownfield reclamation projects, extending the “Redevelopment Rodeo” metaphor. CCLR starts out this way: “Rope ’em, ride ’em, bust ’em, break ’em: Meet some of the roughest, toughest brownfields out there.”

So Knoxville gets a nod of the CCLR’s 10-gallon Stetson for taking on two community eyesores and committing to their remediation.

Here are the CCLR blog posts:



Note that the successful redevelopment of the South Waterfront, and the creation of Suttree Landing Park, is touted as an example of what creative brownfield reclamation can ultimately produce.

The former Sanitary Laundry on North Broadway and McClung Warehouses on Jackson Avenue are unusual in that both are City-owned.

Sanitary Laundry site
Sanitary Laundry site on North Broadway

Interior: Sanitary Laundry site on North Broadway
The City is currently working to repair the Sanitary Laundry building's damaged roof, a $600,000 investment

The City, motivated by blight-abatement and public-safety concerns, purchased the McClung Warehouses site in 2013 from a bankruptcy trustee. The City bought the abandoned dry-cleaning site on Broadway in 2014 in a tax foreclosure. 

“We know that contaminants are present at the Sanitary Laundry and McClung Warehouses sites, and that’s a major roadblock in bringing these key properties back into reuse,” Mayor Madeline Rogero told CCLR. “The great news is that we have developed a strategy to remediate the sites, and now we’ve got the resources to move ahead.”

The Environmental Protection Agency is funding $200,000 for the 30,000-square-foot former dry-cleaning site in the heart of the Downtown North Redevelopment District and $150,000 for the five-acre former industrial site on Jackson Avenue. The City is contributing a 20 percent match – a combined $70,000. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is partnering with the City and EPA on the cleanups.

The City’s plan is to issue a request for proposals in 2019 for the Sanitary Laundry and the McClung Warehouses sites once the contaminants are cleaned up. At that point, the City would look to sell the tracts to private developers, completing the transformation from blighted, abandoned sites to robust focal points for mixed-use economic activity.

Posted by evreeland On 28 November, 2017 at 12:42 PM