Knoxville Area Association of Realtors lends support

The effort to bring baseball back to Knoxville got a big endorsement from the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors (KAAR) on the same day that City Council will consider its support of state legislation to create a special tax district surrounding the proposed multi-use stadium.

City Council meets March 9 to discuss a resolution backing the special tax district for the proposed baseball and multi-use stadium on the outskirts of the Old City in East Knoxville. (UPDATE: The resolution passed by an 8-1 vote.)

The state legislation brought by Sen. Becky Massey and Rep. Jason Zachary would allow the state’s share of sales tax revenues generated in a quarter-mile radius around the stadium to be used for ballpark debt.

KAAR said in a statement: “We strongly support and urge all members of the 112th Tennessee General Assembly to vote for Senate Bill 783 and House Bill 1204, sponsored by legislators Massey and Zachary.

This legislation does not represent a vote for or against stadium developments. Rather, its passage will ensure the City of Knoxville and Knox County are equipped with the tools and financing mechanisms necessary to proceed with negotiations and the continued exploration of the proposed multi-use stadium development in downtown Knoxville.”

Sponsors in the Knox County delegation also include Sen. Richard Briggs and Reps. Sam McKenzie, Michele Carringer, Eddie Mannis and Dave Wright.

KAAR also stated: “We believe the proposed stadium project and the associated development represent an important opportunity for the Knoxville Area and fully support our local governments’ effort to bring a formal proposal to their respective governing body for consideration. For this reason, the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® and our nearly 5,500 members across East Tennessee ask state legislators to support SB783/HB1204.”

The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors® is involved in all aspects of residential and commercial real estate.

Furthermore, KAAR sent a letter to Knoxville City Council asking council members to vote in favor of the resolution in support of the legislation.

The letter read, in part: The project could achieve multiple goals, including, but not limited to, reducing vacant and blighted land, increasing housing units near public transit, broadening local employment opportunities, and expanding public investment and amenities in close proximity to existing affordable housing units. The potential to add new housing units is especially important given the recent influx of new residents to the area and the current housing supply constraints.

The 7,000-seat stadium would cost an estimated $65 million and would be funded with revenue bonds issued by the Sports Authority, the formation of which already has been approved by Knox County Commission and Knoxville City Council.

Local businessman Randy Boyd, who owns the Tennessee Smokies baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, plans to build more than $100 million in privately financed mixed-use projects surrounding the stadium, including residential, retail and restaurant and bar development.