Vibrant, active, and busy. Some parts of downtown Knoxville are hardly recognizable as new businesses set up shop.
In a new study, The Central Business Improvement District reports double-digit growth in the combined restaurant and retail revenue for the last two years.
"So downtown over the last five years has topped the city's growth," Michelle Hummel, Director Downtown Knoxville said.
And 2018 was just as promising with 26 new businesses opened or announced their opening this year alone.
The Hyatt Place hotel opened its doors last winter. This year, the hotel's new rooftop bar opened to the public in August, providing a stunning view of the city.
And the corner of Gay and Church Street looks a lot different now that the Tombras Group is all moved in. The nationally recognized advertising and public relations firm brought this 125-year-old building back to life and put to use once again.
The Gay Street corridor is expanding step by step. Blackhorse Brewery and a permanent Cruze Farm are newbies to the street. Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes moved over from Market Square.
"It's really exciting to see all the new merchants coming in, I mean definitely there's more and more if we do lose one it seems like we gain three," said Scott Schimmel, Co-owner of Bliss and Tori Mason Shoes.
It's a year of change for many storefront owners. After four years in the Old City, Olie Bea announced its move and expansion project, while Blue Coast Grill and Bar and the I Love Juice Bar closed their doors.
The look and feel of the Scruffy City is ever-evolving with the help of beautification projects and the Riverwalk waterfront expansion.
"Part of the goal was to create a three-mile greenway that spans from Scottish Pike area all the way down to Island Home and these public improvements we're about a third of the way there," said Dawn Michelle Foster, Office of Redevelopment.
And in the closing days of 2018, the city opened a new courtyard for Knoxville's homeless under the I-40 bridge on Broadway.
"People can come in during the day, so that there's a place for them if they have nowhere else to go, but at the same time, we also have social workers who are specifically working with that population because we don't want them to stay there," said Michael Dunthorn, Knoxville Homeless Programs Coordinator.
As the downtown vibe changes year to year, many hope the growth we've seen in 2018 is here to stay.