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Open Streets: Event Showcases New Energy in Old Sevier Neighborhood 
Alliance Brewery

Always wanted to learn more about other parts of the city? The upcoming Open Streets Knoxville event on Sunday, May 20, will provide a great sample of an up-and-coming corridor in South Knoxville.

Held from 2 to 6 p.m. and organized by Bike Walk Knoxville, the Open Streets Knoxville event closes city streets so that children and their families can “dance, bike, and play in the street.” This year’s event will temporarily close Sevier Avenue through to the new Suttree Landing Park along the Tennessee River.

The idea of the event is to promote outdoor play as well as the benefits of biking and pedestrian options. However, Open Streets also taps into something deeper than that.

By shifting to different parts of the city each spring and fall, Open Streets visitors get to experience a corridor and surrounding neighborhoods in ways that may be missed when driving or riding in a car.

Sevier Avenue is the commercial corridor of the South Waterfront and the Urban Wilderness.

One can’t help but marvel at how far the corridor has come in the last year and a half or so. Old commercial buildings and houses have transformed from vacant, faded, cracking and peeling to fresh, vibrant, and very much alive.

The City of Knoxville’s Community Development Department has assisted with its Façade Improvement Program. Through this program, property owners in targeted redevelopment areas can apply for funding to improve their curb appeal. The City funding leverages greater investment from the businesses.

More than $252,000 in City façade improvement funds in the Old Sevier neighborhood have helped transform five properties, drawing some businesses to move into once vacant buildings. This incentive has stimulated economic growth along Sevier Avenue.

For example, the vacant 1120 Sevier Ave. not too long ago was a modest retail building with an unmarked parking lot for its front lawn.

Former site of Alliance Brewery
Former site of Alliance Brewery and Three Bears Coffee

After improvements were financed by the City façade program and the building owners, 1120 Sevier now serves as home of Alliance Brewery and Three Bears Coffee. What was once a quilted patchwork of differently aged asphalt is now a landscaped patio that features a larger-than-life colorful sculpture of a mountain biker, paying homage to the nearby Urban Wilderness trails.

Alliance Brewery today
The site of the Alliance Brewery and Three Bears Coffee today.

Another dramatic transformation took place at 700 Sevier Ave., where Honeybee Coffee has opened.

In 2016, the two-story brick building was vacant and stained.

Old Honeybee Coffee site
The site prior to Honeybee Coffee.

Today, the brick has been restored and a stylish trim now completes the window spaces, which replaced garage doors. The façade improvement nods to the building’s past while welcoming customers into a chic, modern, bustling café inside.

Site of Honeybee Coffee today.
The site of Honeybee Coffee today.

Further down the road at 1147 Sevier Ave., the Landing House provides a cozy dining experience and a large, open patio lawn. Previously, this lawn had been surrounded with a chain-linked fence topped with barbed wire.

Old site of Landing House
Site prior to The Landing House renovation.

Today, pedestrians are likely drawn in by the warm lighting and central fire pit that promise conversations and memories over drinks.

Landing House
An artsy photo of The Landing House, now renovated and open for business.

Landing House Lawn
The Landing House lawn today.

Façade improvement projects have also been completed at Computer Systems Plus, 605 Sevier Ave., and Advance Metals, 2018 Davenport Road.

Two more businesses have applications pending for façade projects.

Additionally, several dozen houses have been renovated by private owners in the last few years, showcasing a boulevard of fresh, updated bungalows.

Next up in the neighborhood: A Sevier Avenue Streetscapes Project is slated to begin construction in 2019. The City is currently in the right-of-way acquisition process.

Sevier Avenue Streetscape Project

The project will include new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping along the South Waterfront business corridor – between Davenport Road and a new roundabout planned for the intersection of Sevier Avenue, Foggy Bottom Road and Island Home Avenue.

For water lovers, new amenities – a pavilion and kayak launch – will be added to Suttree Landing Park. Construction is expected to start later this year.

So come to Open Streets on Sunday, May 20 – check out the high energy level and new investment, and then come back in 2019 to see the new look of Sevier Avenue and the Suttree Landing upgrades.

For more information about tomorrow’s event, visit www.OpenStreetsKnoxville.com.
Posted by On 19 May, 2018 at 7:51 PM