KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tons of new development is happening in downtown Knoxville. City leaders said it is all being done to make the city a better place to work, live and play.
"We've taken a lot of efforts over many years really to make downtown an attractive area for folks to visit,” said Rick Emmett, Knoxville's downtown urban coordinator.
Data from Visit Knoxville shows that the city is among the top 10 cities in America to visit.
“Our hotels are pretty full most of the time,” Emmett said. “So it's been an effort from many agencies to get into the state it is.”
Emmett said it could have something to do with how much the city has developed over time. He said even more development is on the way.
“Developing vacant lots, for instance, redeveloping some of the buildings that are not being used as well as they could be,” he said.
More businesses are opening, too. One popular and growing area is Gay Street.
The Frothy Monkey, a coffee shop with locations in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Franklin, announced it is expanding to Knoxville.
“So to have them come in, there's going to be an exciting addition to our mix. Most of ours are homegrown, unique businesses owned by local people,” Emmett said.
Emmett said over the last year, more than 30 businesses have opened downtown, and there is still room for more.
“We still would like to have more retailers downtown. but we're very pleased with where we are,” he said.