Kern’s Bakery redevelopment inches closer

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders

What’s happening in South Knoxville, you ask?

Development plans for the 16-acre Kern’s Bakery site are online and interesting.

Michael Kaplan posted on a website link for the new owners’ vision. Playing off the bread theme, developers use a tagline, “A Slice of Life for Everyone.”

Kaplan observed: “A ‘slice’ indeed: Slice the ridge, remove the trees, pave over the site for parking. Just what South Knoxville needs.”

We caught up with Mike Cohen, who represents Atlanta-based developers Mallory & Evans Partners. He said, “Despite COVID-19, our leasing team is in discussions with several local, unique eateries and retail concepts that will be great additions to the South Knoxville community when Kern’s Bakery Food Hall opens in Summer 2021.”

Basically, the development plan envisions a mixed-use community built in three phases:

  • Phase I: Flagship Kerns, new construction, a 310-bedroom apartment building opening in the first quarter of 2021, according to the website. It’s designed for young adults – students or professionals – sharing core space with private bedrooms and baths. It touts 24-hour clubhouse, computer lab and fitness center, a resort-style pool and on-site maintenance.
  • Phase II: Kern’s Bakery Food Hall, renovation of the 1931 bakery building into a 20-merchant food hall with chef-driven eateries and unique retailers; approximately 10,000 square feet of office space; gathering and working spaces, indoor and outdoor entertainment areas, and a workout facility.
  • Phase 3: Hotel, new construction, 120-rooms, name-brand.

The property at 2230 Chapman Highway is in its third iteration of developers. David Dewhirst organized a group that purchased the site in 2013, after the bakery stopped production in 2012. Dewhirst sold in 2017 to an investment group put together by Oliver Smith IV that included Greystone Partners of Asheville, North Carolina.

But in July 2019, Greystone sold to Mallory & Evans. The principal developer is Alex Dominguez of Atlanta. Cohen said the apartments will start leasing in the fall with an anticipated opening in January 2021. Info online or at 865-268-8304.

The Kerns property is challenging, East Tennessee terrain. But the bakery itself is on the National Register of Historic Places. And the land is surrounded by excitement with the University of Tennessee to the west, the Tennessee River and South Knox waterfront to the northeast and the 1,000-acres Knoxville Urban Wilderness on the south.

“COVID-19 has brought about some challenges, but our teams continue to address them while making it a priority to maintain the health and safety of all on-site personnel,” Cohen said.

We say, stay tuned.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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