Multi-Use Facility Breaks Ground in Knox County

KNOX COUNTY, Ken. – The City of Knoxville and Knox County are working toward building a multi-use stadium near downtown, just east of the Old City.

Bringing professional baseball back to Knoxville is undergoing a stringent review, and community conversations are underway.  A newly formed Sports Authority has been tasked with doing a deep study of a proposed publicly-owned sports and entertainment stadium and will finance, build and manage the stadium if the proposal moves forward.

The facility will officially break ground in May 2022. Courtesy of Visit Knoxville. 

“In making this investment, the public benefit has to be greater than the public cost,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has said. “A highly experienced Sports Authority has completed an independent analysis that shows this to be the case.”

“This private-public partnership on a stadium has the potential to tie together Downtown, the Old City, and East Knoxville while bringing a mostly vacant area back into reuse while creating new jobs and economic opportunities.”

The first round of work related to construction of an $80 million publicly-owned multi-use stadium just east of the Old City will begin in May. Anticipate closures on parts of three streets to accommodate the initial utility upgrade work.

The stadium – supported by a $13.5 million state economic development grant and a roughly $1 million annual lease paid by the Tennessee Smokies – is scheduled to open in time for the 2025 baseball season, though the stadium may possibly be ready in 2024 to host concerts, festivals or other public events. The stadium is expected to host hundreds of events each year – not just professional baseball games and soccer matches.

The total economic impact of the publicly-owned stadium and surrounding private development in East Knoxville is projected to be nearly $480 million over 30 years. More than 400 full-time jobs are expected to be created.

The City and Knox County’s anticipated payment toward the stadium debt would be about $240,000 for each government annually for the first 10 years. At that point, according to an independent economic impact analysis, the project has the potential to pay for itself.

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