There will be a number of small steps taken at the beginning, as Knoxville goes about the process of acquiring the former Veterans Administration campus for redevelopment; but if things go according to plan, the end result will be a big leap forward for the city’s housing market.
Adding the VA site to the city’s TIF district is the latest maneuver in the acquisition process, a step the City Council approved at its meeting Monday night.
City Manager Aaron Adams tells KNIA/KRLS News the target goal of converting the property into a residential housing location will be a major gain for Knoxville, helping to offset the shortage of housing and potentially attracting a larger work force to town.
“We have a real need for housing; we’ve experienced a lot of employment growth, especially from our larger employers here in the community,” Adams says. “A lot of folks finding it difficult to find adequate housing in the community; so we feel like it’s an opportunity to reuse that space.”
The campus has stood largely empty for some time, and repurposing it will also take a lot of time; Adams says some of the structures there have been abandoned for 20 years or more, and getting rid of them won’t happen overnight.
Adams also says many local businesses, as well as the school district, are hopeful new housing will eventually occupy this property, which will be beneficial for all elements of the local economy.