Dec 11 2007
04:27 pm

From the City of Knoxville:

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.

The city's improvements will 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.

I'm a little surprised, because at the public unveiling of the "vision plan", this area was slated for development ten years or so out, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, this sounds like an outstanding project that will jump start (or practically complete?) the South Waterfront project if delivered as advertised. Read the full press release here, which has some drawings.

P.S. The press release telegraphs the likely TIFs: "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 could mean approx. $16 million in TIFs, right?

Rachel's picture

I saw drawings for this

I saw drawings for this about 10 months ago. They may have changed in the meantime, but what I saw looked very good.

The entire south waterfront area is already a TIF district - but that's an infrastructure TIF, with the $$ going to build City infrastructure, not to directly support development itself. I guess the Conleys could apply for an individual TIF; not sure what kind of deal the City has struck with them.

P.S. And there's still a lot of waterfront left. This is a significant development, but in no way "completes" the waterfront.

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." - John Maynard Keynes

Dave Hill's picture

Big Step

This announcement is a really big step in seeing the SW Vision Plan turn into reality. There have been ongoing discussions with Mike and Kelly Conley for more than a year regarding development of the property, and the addition of Mike Stevens will provide the construction expertise to carry the project through. What's most important to me is the dual benefits perspective: the city will invest funding for public improvements that will eventually generate development worth $115 million (which includes more than the Southshore project)and generates $1.5 million per year in property taxes, while at the same time creating street improvements, a park, a riverwalk segment, and a public boat landing open to the public. This is a product of more than 2 years of community planning, and without the people who volunteered their time to attend alot of meetings, it would never have happened. Lots of details to tend to before breaking ground, but we're getting there.

Brian A.'s picture

A roundabout?

Sounds risky.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

bizgrrl's picture

It is my opinion that the

It is my opinion that the Southshore Properties Residences are not attractive and would not enhance the South Knox waterfront.

I do not see why some feel it is necessary to build factory looking buildings to simulate condo conversions. Wouldn't it be nice if someone around here could be creative and original?

Also, what are the numbers regarding (new/existing) residences and (new/existing) residents as compared to green space for this area?

I know this is pretty much a done deal. Too bad. The area has so much potential and so little vision.

bizgrrl's picture

Hah! They're not just making

Hah! They're not just making condos, they're making history...

Rachel's picture

I'm fine with anyone not

I'm fine with anyone not liking the architecture. I'm not sure I like it myself. But I really don't care much whether I like the architecture or not. That's a matter of personal taste.

I do care the development meet the form-based code - built out to street, parking in rear or parking structure, building height low enough that it doesn't block the view of the Phillips Avenue folks behind them, no gated community, doesn't involve teardowns in the existing neighborhoods, etc. etc.

The Old Sevier community has been saying for years that they need more density in order to make their neighborhood better and bring back neighborhood retail. This is a good start (and if you don't believe me about OS, I'll be happy to give you some contact info for folks who live over there and were very involved in the waterfront process).

As for greenspace, geez, look at the diagram. There's a pretty good sized park going in along the river across the street - along with the riverwalk that will mean the public (and not just folks in condos on the river) will get river access.

As for vision, you didn't sit through probably hundreds of hours of meetings where contractors, the City, developers, untility reps, citizens, homeowners, etc. hammered that vision - and the tools to implement it- out. Geez, even the Rowing Club was at the table. It was a monumental achievement to reach agreement on the plan and the code, and then to get City COuncil to pass the code in the face of opposition from folks like Bill Baxter.

Dislike the architecture all you want. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones." - John Maynard Keynes

edens's picture

>The Old Sevier community

>The Old Sevier community has been saying for years that they need more >density

But where will everyone park?

edens's picture

Factory Looking?

Factory Looking?

The stuff rising up in the rear, maybe. But the row along the river looks more like higher-end 19th century townhouses as filtered through the architect's favorite stock-window catalog (Of course, whether DuPont Circle knockoffs belong on Knoxville's waterfront is an entirely different question....)

Perhaps you would have preferred McMansions?

Up Goose Creek's picture


I happen to find the style attractive, it reminds me of Old Concord on a larger scale.

What surprised me are the numbers: $58.6M divided by 137 = an average price of $427,700. My first reaction was that's a bit of a reach, but it could say something about todays economic climate. Perhaps it's easier to sell a $500K home than a $50K home or even a $150K home because the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle class are getting 38% on their Discover card.

Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

bizgrrl's picture

Old Concord Huh? Are you

Old Concord

Huh? Are you speaking of Concord, NH?

bizgrrl's picture

Of course, whether DuPont

Of course, whether DuPont Circle knockoffs belong on Knoxville's waterfront is an entirely different question

Yes it is a good question. Should the SoKno waterfront be compared to DuPont Circle?

I wish for something different. A little creativity please. As I said before, the area has so much potential and so little vision. People are and have been paid to come up with something for the SoKno waterfront. I guess they just aren't very creative, in my opinion. They are getting the density that you might prefer. I'm not sure, does density always mean lack of creativity?

R. Neal's picture

I really like the style of

I really like the style of the former Riverside Tavern and the former visitor's center next door. To me, it suggests the old riverboat days, but modern and stylish and interesting.

edens's picture

Architecturally, I always

Architecturally, I always thought the Riverside tavern building itself was pretty good (modernism ain't all bad...). But, from an urban design standpoint, that end of Volunteer landing is pretty much a mess: a suburban mishmash of parking lots, outparcels and gated residential elements manages to be pretty pedestrian unfriendly and fairly "pedestrian" as an overall experience - it's ten pounds of Turkey Creek in a two pound bag... In fact, I think that's one reason why the performance of all parts involved has been pretty disappointing (both retail and residential).

bizgrrl's picture

style of the former

style of the former Riverside Tavern and the former visitor's center next door

Yes, something more modern, contemporary. Or even something cottage style. Something different.

Up Goose Creek's picture


I was referring to Concord TN. The way the buildings relate to the water. The Savannah waterfront is closer in scale.

building height low enough that it doesn't block the view of the Phillips Avenue folks behind them

Unfortunately this isn't the case.

Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

Up Goose Creek's picture


I imagine contemporary development(s) will be built at some point. Kelly Conley has said she plans to do cottage style infill on Phillips.

Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

Joe Hall's picture

Regarding Limitations on Structures behind Phillips

I believe the interested parties have agreed in planning discussions to limit the height of these structures to no more than three floors and to preserve green space. The spirit of this agreement was to respect the rights of residents on Phillips Avenue who currently have river and downtown views.

The images of proposed buildings seem inaccurate, therefore, since the buildings shown behind the riverfront buildings seem to rise to heights above that. Perhaps these are only artist renderings of possible appearances, not taking into account actual plans limiting buildings to three stories.

No doubt all these improvements will benefit all who own houses and businesses in the area. What good will they'll generate as they faithfully reflect what has been solidified in public planning sessions!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Search and Archives