Saw Works Brewing Co. will not open a tasting room in Knoxville Center Mall, brewery founder Adam Palmer told WBIR 10News on Friday, however, mall ownership insists the plans are still moving forward.
In January, Saw Works said they were in preliminary talks with the mall's new owners to open a tasting room near the movie theater. At the time, Palmer said they saw the Knoxville Center location as a way to establish a footprint in East Knox County.
Those plans have fallen apart, as Palmer told 10News "we could not come to terms with the landlord."
The mall's owners, Knoxville Partners LLC, dispute that. Asked for comment Friday, Patrick King with Henry & Wallace sent a statement on behalf of Knoxville Partners saying, "The plans are still moving forward for Saw Works to move into Knoxville Center Mall."
"There's still quite a bit of work to do on the construction side. But we look forward to announcing the opening. We think it's going to be a great asset and the beginning of what we hope is a new day at Knoxville Center Mall," King said.
The mall originally opened as East Towne Mall in 1984, and later became known as Knoxville Center. It was purchased by a company called Knoxville Partners LLC for more than $10 million in August 2016.
The owners have said they are making landscaping and maintenance improvements and plan to turn the mall back into a thriving retail and residential hub.
“The mall is a giant project that has had lots of problems for a long time – at least 15 years – and we don’t think it will be fixed overnight, and we don’t think we have all the solutions,” Brant Enderle, a member of Knoxville Partners, LLC, said during a community meeting to share plans for the mall's future in September 2016.
Mall management has said their plans include walking trails, specialty shops, restaurants and outside entertainment.
10News has reached out to Knoxville Partners for comment.