KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Reports that Regal Entertainment Group is in negotiations to move its headquarters to South Knoxville are leading to questions about whether South Knoxville is heading for a business boom.
City leaders said Wednesday that Regal is eyeing the site of the old Baptist Hospital for its company headquarters. Many in the community say while this is no done deal, it’s good news.
“Hopefully there’s going to be lots of [‘open’ signs] in the near future,” said Jama Williams, owner of Not Too Shabby.
She’s been open for nearly a year and believes there’s a future because Regal’s headquarters may move from Halls to the South Knoxville waterfront.
“Unless something is growing, then it’s actually dying. So, new growth is always a good thing,” said Williams.
South Knoxville Alliance thinks it’s a win-win too, if it goes through. The old Baptist Hospital property hasn’t been a great gateway for some time now.
“It just looked desolate on this side. It didn’t look inviting. What would people want to come across the bridge for? That didn’t look good. But having the waterfront development and having the apartments, things are going to start looking more inviting,” said Janice Tocher with South Knoxville Alliance.
Down the road at Stanley’s Greenhouse, they say the possibility is exactly the shot the community needed.
“We’ve experienced downtown’s rebirth and that’s been pretty exciting. So, now we’re glad it’s going to creep across the river,” said Monte Stanley, owner of the greenhouse.
“It is going to take years but this is a great start. We’ve already been waiting for years to get to this point,” said Tocher.
Homeowners are also happy South Knoxville is being eyed by big companies.
“There are good schools and good teachers who all live near the schools, and there’s a lot of jobs close on the highway,” said Caitlin Beede.
“It would be great to see what’s happening here just keep on moving down Chapman Highway,” added Tocher.
South Knoxville Alliance also says it’s going to take the entire community from homeowners, to small businesses, and even visitors to throw their support behind them to reach their goals.
Regal Entertainment Group has not responded to requests for comment.