City plans six-week closure at W. Blount Avenue

Paige M. TravisOn the Grow, South Knox

Restoration of the historic Kerns Bakery property in South Knoxville is prompting a six-week closure of a part of West Blount Avenue, just off Chapman Highway, near a railroad overpass.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, West Blount Avenue will be closed between Chapman Highway and Rocky Shore Lane as Jones Brothers Contractors crews build new stormwater infrastructure. Durable long-lasting pipes are being installed beneath Chapman Highway and West Blount Avenue that will carry runoff water from the Kern’s Bakery site east of Chapman downhill to the Tennessee River.

The infrastructure design manages stormwater runoff water by diverting it to the river, which for this location is better environmentally than trapping water on-site in retention ponds.

Flagship Kerns is a 310-bedroom apartment community scheduled to open next year. Mallory & Evans Partners envisions the construction of the greenfield apartments, behind the 89-year-old landmark bakery, as a first step in redeveloping the 16-acre property into an innovative mixed-use community. Previous story here.

A follow-up Phase 2 calls for converting the 75,000-square-foot art deco bakery building – additionally distinctive because of the moving loaf of bread neon sign on its front – into a 20-merchant food hall with 10,000 square feet of office space, full-service restaurants and entertainment space. Phase 3 envisions addition of a small hotel.

Kerns Bakery, which has been vacant for almost a decade, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Following unsuccessful attempts by other developers to bring the property back into reuse, Mallory & Evans purchased the site in 2019.

Throughout the stormwater installation project, the signed detour route around the work zone will include West Blount, Martin Mill Pike and Chapman Highway.

The installation is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31.

Paige Travis is a public information specialist for the city of Knoxville.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *