New development projects are popping up all over East Tennessee, but 10News took the time recently to look at some plans from the region's past that did not come to fruition.
THE FOUNTAINS AT PARKSIDE
In 2007, the president of The Market Edge, Dale Akins, and a fellow developer proposed building a 14-story office tower with five condos at the corner of Pellissippi Parkway and Interstate 40 in West Knoxville.
"We saw a need in the market for more market space," Akins said.
The project would have literally been one of a kind too. A highway beautification act prohibits tall buildings from being built right next to an interstate. However, the one parcel of land where the Fountains at Parkside was slated to go was exempt from the rule.
"The reason we chose to go up, instead of out was just because of the expense," he said.
But, money eventually got in the way of the Fountains at Parkside project. Multiple factors increased initial construction costs from $60 million to $70 million. The tower became just too big to build.
THE SENTINEL TOWER
That same year, another high-rise building was being planned for downtown Knoxville.
The Devon Group LLC unveiled plans for a 21-story tower to be placed at the corner of Church and State streets in downtown Knoxville. The project would have cost $56 million to build.
"We always enjoyed working on a project that could have that type of impact on our community," said Kelly Headden, vice-president of Barber McMurry Architects, the architect on the project. "A downtown project that has that kind of vision, that kind of presence in the community, combine it with the retail, the residential components on the upper floors, it could have been great for downtown."
But, the project never came to be.
"It came at the wrong time," Headden said. "The Devon group, who was our partner in the group, really had it put together. I think the biggest issue for it was the change in the banking industry and the challenges financing any condominium project."
In August, it was announced that an 11-story Residence Inn hotel would be built on the old Sentinel Tower site.
AGGRESSIVE MARKET SQUARE REDEVELOPMENT
Up the street from The Sentinel Tower site is Market Square. While it is known for being the center of activity in downtown Knoxville, back in 2001 it was anything but.
At that time, city planners, developers and residents alike were tossing around ideas as to how to properly revitalize the city center. Some people proposed replacing the downtown fire station with a Cineplex. Others even wanted to build a dome on top of Market Square.
However, one idea was particularly controversial, according to Knoxville Deputy Mayor Bill Lyons who was the board chair of KCDC at the time.
"There was some mention of having a master developer who would take over all the properties on Market Square," he said.
Some felt the square should have become more isolated, like a mall, and connect all the way to World's Fair Park.
But, Lyons said all of those plans eventually died because they did not have enough public or political support. Instead, the city let Market Square develop in an organic manner resulting in what Knoxville has today.
But, transforming Market Square was not only strategy East Tennesseans suggested to bring more people downtown. A $100 million planetarium project named, Universe Knoxville, was grabbing headlines too at the turn of the millennium.
Organizers thought the plan may bring 800,000 people to downtown Knoxville annually.
"The main idea was that it would be a destination attraction that would draw people from the interstate and draw folks here," he said.
Politics eventually put an end to this project too.
BELLE ISLAND VILLAGE
That was not the case for the Belle Island Village project in Pigeon Forge, however.
In 2003, the developers behind Belle Island Village announced they would be bringing 1,200 jobs, 120 hotel rooms and another 75 specialty shops to Sevier County. Locals say the project would have likely made a major impact on the Parkway too.
"It meant a lot of jobs, a lot of new things for people to do here in Pigeon Forge," said Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association President Phil Campbell.
Just a few years after the plan was unveiled, Belle Island's developers announced they were filing for bankruptcy. However, that did not kill the project. New developers eventually stepped in. Now, a venture named, The Island, is slated to open in Belle Island's place this summer.