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Kern's Bakery sold, initial plans revealed

The 70,000-square-foot building will host more than a dozen tenants - including at least six restaurants, plus breweries and retail shops.

The Kern's Bakery building on Chapman Highway in South Knoxville is now under new ownership and initial plans for redevelopment have been released.

On Oct. 6, Oliver Smith Realty and Auction Company Inc. closed on the property with Land of Sky Regional Center, an investment group based in Asheville.

The 70,000-square-foot building will host more than a dozen tenants - including at least six restaurants, plus breweries and retail shops. Additionally, new multi-family units will be built behind the current building.

"When you talk about something of this nature and a property of this type, you want to put a stamp on it where it will always be a cultural piece of our history," Smith said. "That's why we're spending so much time getting the right type of plan, the right type of tenants so we create an atmosphere that will last through the years."

Oliver Smith IV said that moving forward, the development will keep the integrity of the building including signage.

In May, the Kern's Bakery was added to the list of National Historic Places. Smith says that designation, combined with growth and other developments in the area were major selling points.

City leaders say private investment along business and residential units on the South Knoxville Waterfront are already around $160 million.

"With this and its size it's going to definitely not only create synergy among all these new developments, but it creates impact for people to be drawn over here other than just going home or going to their offices," Smith said.

Smith said the site is on a planned expansion of Knoxville Urban Wilderness trail, and that asset has also been popular with potential tenants.

"They love the idea of people riding their bikes in here and walking in here and being able to use the facilities," Smith said.

Smith said six restaurants have already committed to moving into the space and an "amusement" is lined up for the basement level.

Smith said construction should start in about six months.

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