The future for an historic Knoxville home is still pending approval from the Knoxville City Council, but the developer is now explaining his vision.
Paul Murphy has a contract to purchase the 1920s Christenberry Home and property, which sits along Kingston Pike. He hopes to give the spot a new look.
"I plan on restoring the property to its former glory and making it a private residence," Murphy said. "And back behind on the water front, I plan on doing 28 condo units for sale."
Before he can build those high-end condos, likely valued between $400,000-$600,000 each, Murphy needs to rezone the property for multi-family dwelling.
The Metropolitan Planning Commission already approved his rezoning proposal, 11-1, during the April meeting. Now, the City Council must approve the plan, too.
Not everyone in the neighborhood is on board with Murphy's plan. Hundreds of people in the Kingston Pike-Sequoyah Hills Neighborhood Association have already signed a petition asking City Council to vote against the rezoning proposal, citing concerns about traffic, the future of the historic home, and the greater impact to the neighborhood.
Murphy, who lives just a few doors away from his Christenberry development project, is also a member of the neighborhood association.
"Every time they've asked me, I've met with the board members," he said, addressing concerns about communication between himself and those who oppose his plan.. "I'm a member of the association, as well and -- I think – a pretty good neighbor. I bought a house and renovated it, and plan on doing the same here."
He addressed some concerns listed by those on the petition:
Some have argued the condos will bring even more traffic to an already dangerous road.
"It would be less than 1 percent of the average daily volume," Murphy said. "You get about 27,000 trips per day on Kingston Pike. It would be about 1 percent of that."
He is still considering parking options for those who will live in the condos, but suggested structured parking. He hopes to have design renderings and an exact site plan ready soon.
Some members of the neighborhood association have also argued Murphy's plan will set a precedent for more redevelopment in the area.
As he answered, Murphy pointed to a church next door to the property.
"That's one of the reasons I even considered bringing it up for rezoning," he said. "Sequoyah Hills has a myriad of different zoning: R2, commercial, and my closest neighbors are RP1, six units an acre. That's what I'm asking for. So it fits in with the neighborhood."
The Kingston Pike Sequoyah Hills Association will discuss the rezoning issue at its annual meeting this Thursday at 7:00 pm at Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church.