(WBIR) It is the first summer businesses on Sutherland Avenue have shared with a new sports complex.
UT finished RecSports Complex, a $14 million project, in time for the fall semester last year. But some businesses say they still are not seeing the rewards.
The property used to hold student housing, including ones from UT's international programs.
Red Onion Pizza is located across the street from the recreation fields. Owner Shahid Masood said the student housing provided him with a steady stream of customers.
"The children come; they buy pizza from me and the families come sit here. So I lost everybody," Masood said.
But the complex came down in 2011, and so did his sales by 40%. Masood said this summer is even worse, with fewer students around to take advantage of the fields.
"I see a rec field and nobody is there," he said, while looking out the window of his business.
On Wednesday night, 10News did find Ashley Foster who uses the bike trails. The complex connects to the city's Third Creek Greenway.
"I do stop in here all the time. Come in and go get drinks, and stuff like that. And there's college people that come here all the time," Foster said.
When UT's fall semester starts, Jason Mitchell hopes business heats up. He moved Pop Culture, his business that serves gourmet popsicles, from Downtown Knoxville to Sutherland Ave. two weeks ago.
"I think it's a good location. I think this area is picking up. It seems like it's being revitalized a little bit with the intramural fields and some new businesses coming in. So I think it's going to be a good location," Mitchell said.
He is the first tenant in a strip mall that has been around for a couple of years. Masood hopes business picks up during the fall semester after a rocky first year saying, "I have a hard time paying my bills but I'm still trying to stay open."
Dead End BBQ told 10News its business has not seen a negative impact.
10News contacted UT and is waiting to hear back.