fb tw

Continued Popularity in Southwest and Northwest Counties

May 5, 2020 | More News

According to Planning’s recently released 2019 Development Activity Report, the local construction industry recorded another big year.

This year’s homebuilding market was exceptionally strong. With 3,994 permits, residential construction returned to levels seen prior to the 2008 recession. However, things look different than they did then. While the prerecession market was dominated by single-family housing, multi-family housing accounted for more of this year’s development. Prior to 2008, Knox County recorded two to three times more single-family units than multi-family in any given year. That trend seems to be changing, with more even splits between the two housing types over the past few years.

For the first time in several years, the Southwest County Sector led the way in residential development, reporting 896 units. Though this sector has shown strong growth trends for the past several years, it has consistently ranked behind the Northwest County Sector. This year, however, the Northwest County lagged slightly with 832 units added.

One of the largest developments in the Southwest County Sector is The Crescent at Ebenezer, a $39 million apartment complex with 246 units.

Construction of The Crescent at Ebenezer in Southwest Knox County

Non-residential construction also saw healthy activity levels this year. Again, the Southwest County notched the greatest gains with 45 units, followed closely by the Northwest County with 37. While these two combined for the most units, noteworthy projects can be found in other areas of the county as well. The largest investment for a single development is the expansion and renovation of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in the Central City Sector, valued at $84 million. Other noteworthy non-residential developments were seen in the East County Sector, including Tru Blu, a new industrial facility valued at $32.9 million, a $9.6 million expansion at the Dr. Pepper facility, and the addition of a $12.5 million reptile and amphibian exhibit at Zoo Knoxville.

Dr. Pepper expansion in East Knox County

Though this year’s activity was the most robust it’s been since 2008, we will likely see a shift in the coming years as headlines are dominated by the impacts of a new recession. While the housing and finance industries took the hardest hit from the 2008 recession, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be having a broader effect. It’s hard to know if growth and popularity in the Northwest and Southwest County Sectors seen over the past few years will continue amidst a new economic downturn.

Knoxville-Knox County Planning has been reporting on development activity annually for more than 30 years. Contact Terry Gilhula in our Information Services division or visit our website for past reports.