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North Downtown Knoxville attracts interest of developers

11:15 PM, Jun 29, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR - Knoxville) Public and private entities are coming together to bring more offerings to the north side of downtown Knoxville.

Developer David Dewhirst's firm is currently working on four separate renovation projects in that area of town; they include the White Lilly Flower Mill, the Saloon and Boarding House building, 618 Broadway and the Industrial Belting Supply building.

Dewhirst said all of the projects will be mixed-use and include a variety of residential and retail offerings. He told 10News the Depot Avenue corridor is full of opportunity.

"Lots of great buildings over there, kind of like downtown was 5, 10 years ago," he said.

Greg Clayton manages Clayton's Furniture on North Gay. The store has been at that location since the late 70's.

His store will soon be front and center for a streetscape project recently approved by the city council. Knoxville will install trees, sidewalks, and lights on the 400 and 500 blocks of North Gay street.

Clayton said he's happy with the proposed improvement. But, he said he would have liked to seen more over the years.

"There have been some improvements, but on our end, we've kind of been left behind," Clayton said.

Some parts of north downtown have already seen changes go into effect. Parts of the Southern Railway Depot, which played host to Brewfest 2013, were renovated into a banquet hall. The 106-year-old station used to be a main center of city activity.

"We like to see the activity here, before it was just an empty building," said Jim Tolliver, president of the Old Smoky Rail Museum. "So, now we've got people coming and going."

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