Urban Land Institute to Visit Oct. 5-10 for Knoxville Study

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Urban Land Institute to Visit Oct. 5-10 for Knoxville Study

Posted: 10/01/2014
ULI logoOctober 1, 2014 - Consultants from a nonprofit research firm known nationally for urban planning and design will be in town next week as part of a contract with the City of Knoxville to study five sites in and around downtown Knoxville. The consultants from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will conduct site tours and interviews with public officials, developers, residents, business owners, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders.

Their visit will conclude with a public presentation of their findings and recommendations at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, at the Bijou Theatre.

"Downtown Knoxville is at a crucial point in its redevelopment," said Mayor Madeline Rogero, who included $125,000 for the ULI study in this year's budget. "We have a lot of opportunities, and the outside expertise of ULI will help us identify the best approaches to some of our most important public properties."

ULI, based in Washington, D.C., was formed in 1936. The group provides research and consultation on "issues of urbanization, conservation, regeneration, land use, capital formation, and sustainable development." (For more background, see www.uli.org).

The sites identified for study by ULI are:

City-owned properties on West Jackson Avenue between Broadway and Gay Street, including the former sites of the McClung Warehouses. Mayor Rogero has indicated that these properties will be offered for private redevelopment.

The old State Supreme Court building and adjacent lots covering the block bounded by Henley Street, Locust Street, Church Avenue and Cumberland Avenue. The State of Tennessee has offered the property for sale through the City's Industrial Development Board. A Request for Proposals last year did not lead to a feasible project.

The Broadway/Henley Street corridor from Jackson Avenue south to Cumberland Avenue, with a focus on improving north-south and east-west connectivity.

World's Fair Park, which will be studied for potential improvements to its public spaces and connections to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Civic Coliseum and Auditorium complex on Howard Baker Jr. Avenue. A separate feasibility study is already underway to assess the physical state of those facilities. ULI will be considering the broader future of the whole site and its connections to downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

To prepare for the visit, City staff compiled a briefing book for ULI panel members. Click here to view the briefing book.

There will be three events open to media during the ULI visit:

6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5: Sponsor dinner at Club LeConte, 800 S. Gay St., for ULI representatives, Mayor Rogero, City Council members and other City staff.

5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6: Press conference with Mayor Rogero and ULI panel chairman Leigh Ferguson, outside the Knoxville Museum of Art, 1050 World's Fair Park Drive. This will provide an overview of the work ULI will be doing during the week.

9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10: The ULI panel will make a public presentation of their findings, at the Bijou Theater, 803 S. Gay St.

This is not ULI's first time in Knoxville. The City hired the organization in 1998 to provide guidance on siting of the Knoxville Convention Center at World's Fair Park. Among other things, the resulting report led to the relocation of the center from the west side of the park to its current site on Henley Street. The report also offered advice on redevelopment of downtown Knoxville.

Click here to view the full 1998 report.