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Knoxville Chamber optimistic on future development in the city

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

Our main feature in today’s newsletter focused on the housing market in Knoxville and the Knox County area. We also spoke with Amy Nolan, Vice President for Regional Enhancement at the Knoxville Chamber for her thoughts on development in the area.

Nolan said Knoxville is unfortunately not an anomaly with its housing shortage. Labor shortages and supply chain issues are impacting markets across the country. Cities that can solve this problem are better positioned to recruit and retain future talent, she added. This is “now a key differentiator in economic development.”

Although this news may seem disheartening when combined with the rising prices of homes in Knoxville, Nolan said she is optimistic about the city’s prospects for a number of reasons. Although prices are rising, Knoxville remains an affordable market when compared to areas in the Midwest and the coasts. Combine this with Knoxville’s quality of life and you have an attractive area to live in. As we wrote in our main feature, Forbes recently included Knoxville on its “Best Markets for Each Stage of Life,” for both Boomers and Gen Xers. The latter is important to note, Nolan said, because “Gen X individuals are filling management, professional and knowledge-based positions in our community.”

She also added that what people want in housing, specifically Millennials and Gen Z, is more diverse than previous generations. They want denser communities where they can walk to work, restaurants, and more. Nolan pointed to the recent growth in the northern and southern areas of downtown Knoxville as an example. She added that the new sports complex and the $100 million in private, residential, and commercial projects will be key to filling that void.

City and county leadership also has a role to play, and Nolan said both Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs have their eyes on development. Kincannon has an initiative to streamline development services, and Jacobs is launching a new general plan, which hasn’t happened in decades, Nolan said. Jacobs is also an advocate for mixed-use development, she said.

To wrap up, Nolan said, “In essence, Knoxville is lucky to have some roadmaps to increase the supply of housing. we just need to keep our feet on the gas and recognize that the issue is urgent.”

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