KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Years of time, energy and money are paying off in North Knoxville. There are a lot of new locally owned businesses in the area, especially along Central Avenue. The city of Knoxville started redeveloping this neighborhood in 2007 and 2008.
“If you want your house to look like the set of Mad Men this is a one stop shop,” said Chris Virden, owner of Mid Mod Collective.
The store has been open since December inside the old air conditioner garage and it continues to thrive.
“It was a natural fit for us. We were looking for a larger space to put our furniture in and something that didn’t require a tremendous amount of build up to make it look cool,” added Virden.
No matter which way you look, the neighborhood is looking cooler. The city of Knoxville is offering building owners facade grants, one aspect of redeveloping the area.
“We’re getting a coffee shop and bakery going in next door. We’ve got a whole bunch of empty bays that they’re looking for maybe a restaurant or artists or something like that,” said Virden.
If you’re thirsty, there’s also a new brewery in the neighborhood.
“So the Tennessee Blonde is a very delicate, refreshing light style,” said Fanatic Brewing Company owner Marty Velas.
The company has been making that beer and is now shipping it out to local restaurants. Fanatic Brewing Company has been building the brewery over the past two years because the space was just right.
“We are entertaining the idea of putting in a little small pub, tasting area, maybe down the road. We certainly are outfitted for some functions, out in our parking lot some temporary seating and have some barbeques,” added Velas.
Some are rediscovering North Knoxville, like Parci Gibson.
“It’s very fun to every week come out here and see something new happening,” she said.
The next major part of this big picture project is streetscaping. The city plans on redoing sidewalks, as well as adding some flowers and trees, making North Knoxville more pedestrian friendly. It is still in the design phase, and work may not begin until 2016.
Knoxville’s Community Development Department the new businesses opening up are grassroots and market driven, but it’s especially exciting.