KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After years of promises and multiple developers, builders have started construction on the Kern's Bakery redevelopment in South Knoxville.
Mallory & Evans Partners bought the site in 2019. As part of the second phase of their development project, they plan to turn the old Kern's Bakery building into a food hall.
"This is a collection of entrepreneurs, restauranteurs that create a very unique space and bring people to it," said Alex Dominguez, one of the developers.
Previously, different developers planned to bring different concepts to the space. None of them panned out. Dominguez said he believed his development group will succeed.
"We'd heard all the things and all the promises and everything that was coming and all the highlights and how everybody was crazy about it," Dominguez said. "We chose a different path."
Dominguez said the new food hall concept is fully financed, designed and permitted.
In June, construction crews started demolition on the project. Developers hope food hall vendors will be able to move in starting at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
Since the food hall started construction, South Knoxville has transformed.
"The last 3 of 4 years, this area is on fire," said Tim Martin, the broker on the project.
A building just around the corner from Kern's Bakery served as a medical office building. Now, it's demolished as well. A company called Knoxville Student Property, LLC owns it, suggesting more student housing is on the way in South Knoxville.
"It's a special area," said Hancen Sale, the Government Affairs and Policy Director of the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS. "It's a unique part of Knoxville."
Sale said the area traditionally had single-family homes, but developers are starting to build multi-family homes, townhomes and apartment complexes in hopes they could make money from the area.