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Mayors release statement on how enlarging Stadium Tax District will impact East Knoxville and other business news

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a roundup of business news from throughout the Knoxville region. If you have some business news that you would like to be included in Teknovation Weekend, please email us at klamb@pyapc.com.)

Knox County and Knoxville Mayors release statement on stadium tax district

Yesterday, the Mayors of Knoxville and Knox County released a statement that the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district that will surround the stadium is proposed to expand into the Magnolia Avenue Warehouse District. This expansion will move several blocks beyond what was originally proposed. A larger TIF district ensures new investments from the stadium project will directly benefit the area, the statement said. An independent analysis estimated that the total impact of the stadium will be $480 million over 30 years and it will create more than 400 full-time jobs.

“The stadium will be a catalyst that creates new economic opportunities in East Knoxville and brings new quality-of-life improvements to nearby families,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “It will generate additional investment and create jobs. By expanding the TIF district, those direct benefits to the community can come faster.”

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs also supports the move, saying it will help strategically build vibrancy in the area.

“Inflation and skyrocketing construction costs have forced us to look into other options,” Mayor Jacobs said. “One way is to expand the TIF district, which will fund the stadium with revenue that would not otherwise be generated.”

Read the full statement here.

UT System earns “2022 Great Place to Work Certification”

Based on current employee surveys, the University of Tennessee (UT) System has earned the “2022 Great Place to Work Certification.” According to a news release from the university, it is the first time it has earned the certification in its history. According to the release, 72 percent of employees rated UT as a great place to work, 15 points higher than the average company in the U.S. The surveys are put together by Great Place to Work, a global authority on workplace culture. Other stats included that 91 percent of employees found UT to be a physically safe place to work, 84 percent said they felt comfortable taking time off when necessary, and 83 percent said they felt good about the ways UT contributes to the community.

“As we work to make this the greatest decade in UT history, our employees are at the very core of how we deliver services to our campuses and institutes across the state,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “We have worked hard to shape culture, build purpose and enhance team cohesion, and this certification is one indication that we are successfully living out our values.”

UT announces five-year partnership with Change Center

UT Knoxville (UTK) recently announced a five-year partnership with the Change Center, which will help amplify college access and educational opportunities for middle and high school students. Change Center works to provide recreation, leadership development, and job opportunities to young adults in Knoxville’s center-city communities, according to a release from UTK. The partnership will include regular programming run by UTK faculty, staff, and students, including back-to-school bashes, tailgates, college nights, and educational awareness and community service projects.

The Change Center evolved from the Save Our Sons initiative led by the City of Knoxville, which was focused on reducing violence-related deaths by increasing opportunities for youth.

“It is important to me personally, and to our university, that UT is not only a place for people to come, but also a place that serves the people of Tennessee in their own communities,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “This partnership with the Change Center puts UT in the heart of East Knoxville, doing important work that makes access to the kind of life-changing opportunities that higher education affords easier for young people who live within arm’s reach of our campus.”

Notes from the KAAR “Market Pulse”

The July edition of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtor’s “Market Pulse” said that while home sales were down in May, they increased by 1.6 percent from May to June. Higher mortgage rates are placing more pressure on the rental market in Knoxville, with rents increasing by 19.3 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2022. Inflation in June was also at the highest level since November 1981. The newsletter also included cautionary words for Knoxville residents on reading national headlines and trends for the real estate market. Knoxville’s local market is responding differently than the overall market. The newsletter also said that a housing bubble like the one in 2008 is unlikely.

United Way of Greater Knoxville sponsors Hackathon for Food Security

The Hackathon for Food Security is underway. The event brings minds together to find a solution to “What will it take to create a more accessible, equitable, and complete food security system in Knoxville?” Until the end of the month, teams are working on the brainstorming and plan development phase. Plans and a letter of intent will be submitted September 5. Finalists will present on September 27. According to the United Way of Great Knoxville webpage for the event, 56,000 people go hungry every day in Knox County. For more information on the event, visit this site.

Business Changes

Marble City Market Food Hall saw two recent changes reported in Inside of Knoxville. The food hall has a new management team after restaurateurs Paul and Ashley Moody stepped in to replace Hospitality HQ. According to the Inside of Knoxville article, the Moodys were approached by Regas Properties after Hospitality HQ did a working transitional period. The couple operates Moody Foods Inc. which includes Smash City, Biscuit + Bird, and Lanai Hawaiian Kitchen. In addition to taking over management of Marble City, the Moodys are opening Valley Fresh Kitchen in the former The Corner’s Pizza spot in the food hall. The pair will be using the pizza oven for flatbreads, according to this Inside of Knoxville article. The grand opening is set for August 9.

The Metro Drug Coalition is fundraising for the construction of a new office space and Gateway Community Recovery Center on Fifth Avenue downtown. The Coalition is a nonprofit that works to help communities in recovery from drug misuse. Since 2010, Metro Drug Coalition has gone from three to 16 employees, according to an article on the nonprofit from Inside of Knoxville. The new location will be a hub for recovery services where the nonprofit will offer meetings and classes, as well as future amenities such as a coffee shop, recreation, and workout room. Read more here.

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