Developers have their eye on a piece of West Knox County property, where they want to build a mid-rise luxury condo complex.

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On Thursday, Knoxville's Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) denied the developers request to rezone the property from low-density residential (LDR) to high-density residential (HDR). Without that change, the developers will not be allowed to build the condo complex near Turkey Creek.

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Developers have their eye on a piece of West Knox County property, where they want to build a mid-rise luxury condo complex.

Those plans would require a zoning change on the 2.5 acre plot of land, which the Metropolitan Planning Commission will consider at a meeting this week.

The property, owned by Choto Partners, has been denied for rezoning changes before and the neighborhood adjacent to the land hopes it will be denied again.

The Proposal

Developer group Thomas Properties, LLC wants to purchase the land currently owned by Choto Partners, and the condos.

The 2.5 acres sit between Parkside Drive and Plum Creek Drive, just across Lovell Road from Turkey Creek.

Local broker Phil Cobble represents the developers, and said the design calls for a 10-story, 95-unit building. The unit prices would range from $300,000 to $750,000 with multiple options for floor plans.

"We have a lot of retirees from large, metropolitan areas that are relocating here for children or business interests. We have corporate individuals and families that have two or three homes and they work here in Knoxville maybe a week, two weeks a month," Cobble said, describing the expected buyer.

Early plans describe an underground parking complex, a gate surrounding the property, and elaborate landscaping. Cobble said the location is a major draw, too.

"It's an ideal, well suited location, and very desirable because convenience to the interstates: I-75, I-40, I-81, the airport just down Pelissippi Parkway."

Rezoning

Currently, the property is zoned as LDR, Low Density Residential and STPA, Stream Protection Area. The land is currently vacant and includes a vacant house.

The land is bordered to the south and east by a residential neighborhood. Parkside Drive provides the northern boundary, and Glade Drive borders its west side. Both are zoned for office and commercial use.

The redevelopment calls for HDR, High Density Residential Zoning -- and STPA. The proposed use would be multi-dwelling residential.

MPC staff has recommended the plan be denied, for these reasons:

  • The property is located across the street from Low Density Residential users and does not have direct access to Parkside Drive. Currently, the only access to that property is through neighborhood streets
  • A creek runs along the northern border of the property, providing a natural divide between different zoning.
  • High Density Residential would not be compatible with character of the neighboring subdivision

Cobble said he expects the first discussion with MPC to be a challenge.

"That's a major obstacle. This will be the first pass at rezoning with any plans in hand," he said. He says the project will likely require some changes, and already mentioned adding a bridge to connect Parkside Drive and the condo complex.

A neighborhood's fight

Boxwood Hills has a number of vocal residents, ready to challenge any development proposed for that land.

"It needs to stay a neighborhood, and it clearly is a neighborhood," said Paul Simmons. He and his wife Michelle are active in the push to keep development out.

"We have children, the elderly, and animals all walking around. We already have a distinct boundary between ourselves and the businesses with the stream running along the edge of Parkside," Simmons said.

"This is a watershed, over here, for the city of Knoxville," added Michelle. "So anymore run off in this area, not great. By putting something here - a luxury condo, etc - that doesn't mean it's going to be a discreet packet that's no longer a part of our neighborhood."

She said if the condos are built, she's skeptical how successfully they will sell.

"We have multiple places here on Parkside that have been bulldozed and nothing has ever been built on them," she said. "You can't guarantee those things are going to sell."

Even though MPC has denied zoning requests in the past, the Simmons say they still have some nerves before this next meeting. They intend to continue fighting.

However, they aren't opposed to all change. When asked what they would like to see on the vacant land, Simmons proposed a few homes or a community park.

MPC meets Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

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