Stadium approval would bring new hotel

Rendering of a proposed 127-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott on Jackson Avenue in the Old City

A local developer has plans to build a $22 million hotel in the Old City if approval is granted for a new baseball stadium and multi-use facility.

“I’m excited about the growth of downtown Knoxville,” said Nick Patel, a University of Tennessee graduate and president of TCH Knoxville, LLC, which owns seven other hotels in Knox and Sevier counties. “The stadium is a much-needed element to help refresh and revitalize the Old City. It brings a great new energy, and I want to contribute to the momentum.”

Patel’s company, Old City Ventures, will develop the new SpringHill Suites by Marriott. The five-story hotel will be designed to have an upscale, historic feel similar to other buildings in the Old City and will offer 127 rooms with space for an outdoor pool and fire pits. Patel already has secured the land needed for the project: a half-acre lot next to Barley’s restaurant and bar on Jackson Avenue, and a one-acre lot across the street for parking.

Coverage of the proposal also can be watched in THIS REPORT by WATE.

Last week, the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission unanimously approved preliminary zoning changes for the proposed stadium project from industrial district to a planned development district. The $80.5 million stadium would be surrounded by more than $100 million in mixed-use private development across 21.5 acres. The zoning changes would allow for signage, stadium lighting, exterior lighting and landscaping. A final plan also must be approved by the planning commission.

The Sports Authority, which has been in the process of determining the feasibility, cost-benefit analysis and details of building a publicly owned stadium, is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 28. Knoxville City Council and Knox County Commission could vote on the stadium proposal in October.

“Knoxville is my home,” Patel said. “I grew up in Strawberry Plains, and this place is close to my heart. Like my local mentors, David Dewhirst, Mark Heinz and Tim Hill – who laid a lot of groundwork towards Knoxville’s growth – I am thrilled to be a part of our city’s continued success.”

If you build, he will come. Enjoy this clip from an iconic baseball movie.