One Downtown Knoxville street has seen a lot of activity as of late.
Union Avenue, which borders Market Street to the south, will be home to a number of new businesses this summer. Construction workers have been renovating retail space next to the Oliver Hotel for months. Asheville-based olive oil company, Tree and Vine, and artistic retailer, Nothing Too Fancy, will move into that space.
The Casual Pint, a craft beer retailer with a store already in Bearden, will have a location on Union Avenue as well.
"There's a lot happening downtown," said Casual Pint President Nathan Robinette.
He told 10News his store's new branch downtown will provide new opportunity.
"There's a good customer base down there for us," Robinette said.
The city says more businesses are coming to Union Avenue for multiple reasons. Knoxville Downtown Coordinator Rick Emmett said ongoing development on Market Square has enticed some, but many businesses are looking at the area's increasing residential population.
"Market Square is driving a lot of it, but also building development," Emmett said.
Emmett said growth on Market Square and Union Avenue is also bleeding onto Gay Street. Recently, Gay Street has seen the addition of new bars like Suttree's High Gravity Tavern and the Sky Bar and Grill. Emmett said the city has also fielded requests from several interested parties about location availability in that area.
"There's some definite plans there [Gay Street] some folks have" he said.
The idea of more business downtown excites downtown resident John Black, owner of John Black Photography, which is located on the corner of Locust Street and Union Avenue. He said when he arrived to Knoxville from his native Scotland in 1987, few people traveled downtown.
"In Scotland, the town center is where people meet and it's taken Knoxville quite a long time to get to that area," Black said.
He tried to fix that by inviting other local businesses to take up shop in Daylight Building, next to his storefront. While he likes the direction Downtown Knoxville is heading, he said he would like to see even more retail appear in the area.
"I'm not sure that it's [development downtown] is all about more restaurants," Black said. "We need more vendors."
One vendor that could soon appear down the street from Black is Urban Outfitters. Emmett said they are in still in negotiations to open up shop in the Arnstein building, just across from where Tupelo Honey will soon open up on Market Square along Union Avenue.
Meanwhile, the Casual Pint has announced plans to open on Union Avenue public by mid-July.