Construction begins on new downtown stadium, new changes to project funding

Officials expanding what they call a ‘TIF District’ to help generate more revenue and more jobs.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:41 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Construction started this week on the new downtown stadium where the Knoxville Smokies will play in the future. This is something construction crews have waited months for as they began their demolition phase of the project.

“Really excited finally the sound of progress,” Denark Construction senior project manager Mohamed Abbas said.

The downtown stadium will also be homes to future soccer matches, concerts and other public events.

“Were happy to see it moving forward and looking forward to seeing the project progress,” Abbas said.

Before construction even began, a lot changed to the original plan due to rising construction costs and inflation. Smokies opening day has been pushed back another year to 2025, an additional $15 million in construction costs and new stadium plans.

“We’re expecting to see some really incredible investment in this part of our community. It’ll be new development and new investment,” Knoxville chief of economic and community development Stephanie Welch said.

The new plan also calls for expanding what city officials call a “TIF District” to allow more federal money to help pay some local costs. The goal is it’ll help revitalize the area while also getting more money to fund the stadium.

“Being able to utilize additional TIF revenue to ensure that we have the ability to address those inflationary costs and looking at that TIF district as a piece of that puzzle,” Welch said.

Both mayors Indya Kincannon and Glenn Jacobs approve the expanded TIF District. They said it’s because of the overall revenue the stadium is expected to bring to the area which is totaled at $480 over 30 years. The plan is it’ll also provide 400 jobs.

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