Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Commissioner Sam McKenzie held a press conference this morning to announce what had long been rumored: The return of Buzz Goss' Marble Alley development on State Street. The plans aren't as grand as they were at the height of the housing boom, but they're still pretty grand. Goss called the project a "game changer" for downtown, and Mayor Madeline Rogero said it would be a "key connector" between central downtown and the Old City.
Here's what the rendering of the site looks like:
Here's another view:
Of course, not all of that is happening at once. The site will be built out in multiple phases, and the first will just be apartments. The developer compared the project to units in Buckhead in Atlanta and the Gulch in Nashville, with a swimming pool, a fitness center, and assigned parking. However, rent will supposedly just start at $850, which is totally cheaper than anywhere else downtown. (We won't be surprised if the rates rise quite a bit by the time the units are finished in two years.)
There's no word yet on whether Goss will be seeking any city or county help with the development, whether via TIF or some other tax break. City spokesperson Jesse Fox Mayshark said the city will definitely have to invest money in redoing the sidewalks and streetscaping around the development, but there's no word on anything else at this point.
Full press release from the county below:
Mayor announces plan for Marble Alley siteKnoxville, Tenn. -- Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced plans for a multi-million dollar residential development on the Marble Alley property in downtown Knoxville this morning. He was joined by Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, County Commissioner Sam McKenzie and developer Buzz Goss in making the announcement.Goss, along with TDK Construction, is planning to begin phase one of the multi-phase development within the next eight to 12 months, once the property transfers from the county to the developer. Phase one of the plan is for a large 200,000 square foot residential development."This is exciting news for downtown Knoxville and all of Knox County," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "This property has been underutilized for a long time, and it is good to see a local entrepreneur like Buzz step up and do something with it. When this project is complete, downtown businesses will benefit."The three-to-five story residential facility is a $15-20 million planned investment. It will include 238 units, a 350 space parking garage, a courtyard and resort-style pool, and fitness and lounge facilities. Other phases of the development ultimately call for a mixed-use space that will include commercial retailers.In the 90s, Knox County acquired the property from private property owners in order to build a new downtown justice center. That center was never built. Since that time, there have been several ideas for the property, including a downtown planetarium.