Nov 24 2008
11:51 am

I was pleased to see Hayes Hickman's article on Minvilla on the front page of the KNS this morning: (link...)

"Housing First" was to be the key strategy of the TYP but the astronomical price of Minvilla is more representative of "Housing Last". The unanswered question is:

"Why are the much more economical and readily available options which would help more people quicker not being pursued prior to Minvilla?"

Why in the world do we want to help fewer people and take longer to do so? This project has become financially irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

Lisa Starbuck's picture


We know where VMC and Robert Finley of the Mayor's office stands on Minvilla.

My question is what do the other participants and stakeholders in the Ten Year Plan think about spending this kind of money in order to receive so little?

Bill Pittman's picture

Lisa, I'm not certain but

I'm not certain but there seems to be an active movement to continue the unprecedented growth of the mission district and as housing prices plummet, the difference what can be bought v. what has to be restored will only continue grow. This project has skyrocketed to the point where the only fiscally-responsible thing to do is to use the City's demolition by neglect ordinance to stabilize and secure the structure until market conditions become favorable for private redevelopment. The TYP should then pursue the many other less expensive options currently available...these more cost-effective options would allow more people to benefit from "housing first", are close to public transportation and service sector jobs.

Mr. Finley has stated via public forums that the project has not sky rocketed since its initial ~$3mm estimate (it is now ~$7mm+ and counting) but that begs the question...if the TYP and VMC knew the $3mm was artificially low, why wasn't the public and our legislative bodies notified of this? He further compares the cost to other historic renovations but only those in other cities which is like comparing an apple to a T-Bone steak.

This project stands at ~200/ft2 and is much more expensive than other renovations such as North Central Village and is comparable to some of Knoxville's most expensive homes.

Lisa Starbuck's picture

Thanks Bill

You may not be able to answer, but my question is what the other stakeholders think? I believe that besides KARM, VMC and the Salvation Army there were others involved in the TYP such as St. John's Lutheran and some of the businesses close to the mission district. And the city and county of course. It looks like the city and county are A-OK with spending the money on Minvilla, but I wonder about the others.

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