Old City gets a lot of attention, but don't ignore the 'West Downtown Knoxville' potential

·3 min read

Knoxvillians tend to have a sense of directional pride.

Those who live in South Knoxville embrace the outdoors as part of their personality, while West Knoxvillians seem to appreciate their distance from the city's core and the brand-name businesses that typically set up in the suburbs.

Downtown's identity, however, is constantly changing, as developers have re-imagined the center of the city in recent years.

Despite this changing landscape, downtown's growth remains centered around Gay Street and a north-south corridor from the Tennessee River to the edge of Old North Knox.

The eastern edge of downtown has received attention recently due to the forthcoming baseball stadium and surrounding development, but not much has been said about what's happening to the west.

West Downtown Knoxville, a term coined this week on "The Scruffy Stuff" podcast, seems disconnected from Gay Street and the center of the city.

Part of that has to do with the abundance of hotels and lack of local businesses, plus the traffic on Henley Street and the unique geography around World's Fair Park.

But this part of town could soon experience major changes, with developments coming online in 2022 that aim to re-think how locals experience the area.

A view of the Sunsphere and Henley Street from the rooftop of the Old State Supreme Court building site in downtown Knoxville on Monday, November 18, 2019.
A view of the Sunsphere and Henley Street from the rooftop of the Old State Supreme Court building site in downtown Knoxville on Monday, November 18, 2019.

Could West Downtown Knoxville be the next hot spot for developers and business owners to set up shop? Listen to this week's episode of "The Scruffy Stuff" below to see what urban life writer Ryan Wilusz and Brenna McDermott have to say.

McDermott, growth and development editor for Knox News, joins the podcast as a guest host this week while former co-host Calvin Mattheis transitions to a full-time producer role.

Listen now and learn about the show

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"The Scruffy Stuff" started in March 2020, with the goal of keeping listeners informed about what was happening in and around downtown Knoxville with business shutdowns, widespread social distancing and other pandemic-related challenges.

As restrictions were lifted and life began resembling normalcy, downtown news picked up in a different way. New businesses opened their doors, and big-time developments broke ground.

Tune into "The Scruffy Stuff" each Monday for answers to your biggest downtown questions. The podcast is the source for advancing the conversation about issues, trends and opportunities in the city's core.

Episodes are available on Apple, Spotify, Google Play and other streaming platforms.

Have an idea? Want to be featured?

Between each episode, you can reach out to Ryan with feedback and your own questions about downtown Knoxville. The questions could become an episode, and your perspective might just be shared on the show.

Leave a recorded message on our hotline at 865-226-9192 to be featured on the podcast, or reach out to Ryan at ryan.wilusz@knoxnews.com.

Be sure to follow Ryan and Knox News on Instagram @knoxscruff and @knoxvillephoto.

Ryan Wilusz: Knoxville's downtown explorer and urban reporter
Instagram | Twitter | Email | 865-317-5138
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This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Downtown Knoxville has room for growth near Henley, World's Fair Park

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