Knoxville Baseball Stadium Could Spur Development, Rising Costs

Greenville Drive baseball stadium in South Carolina could show parallels to Knoxville’s future stadium Info
Knoxville’s future downtown baseball stadium aims to revitalize an industrial area, but some worry it may also accelerate gentrification. The $114 million stadium, set to open in 2025, takes inspiration from Fluor Field in Greenville, South Carolina. Since Fluor Field opened in 2006, the surrounding area has transformed with new shops, restaurants, offices, and upscale apartments.

Greenville’s West End was once “not a place you’d want to be,” according to Elizabeth Hughes, a store manager. Now, it’s a regional attraction that brings in visitors and spurs economic growth well beyond baseball season. Property values and rents have skyrocketed in the area, with homes selling for two to three times 2008 prices.

In Knoxville, the stadium site sits in a historically impoverished neighborhood. Community groups hope to avoid widespread displacement of existing residents as new development moves in. “Declining property values aren’t good either,” said Hancen Sale of the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors. “It’s about minimizing displacement.”

Knoxville’s stadium will differ from Fluor Field in funding and ownership. Fluor Field cost $20 million, all privately funded by the Greenville Drive baseball team. The city owns the land. Knoxville’s stadium will cost over 4 million, with .7 million in public funding. Developer Randy Boyd donated the land and will lease the facility to the Smokies baseball team for $1 million per year.

New high-end housing near the Knoxville stadium aims to attract an “urban lifestyle” demographic. The 233-unit Yardley Flats will offer luxury amenities like a sky bridge, pet spa, and sports lounge. Rent prices are not yet announced. In contrast, the nonprofit First Creek at Austin development will provide over 200 affordable housing units just blocks away.

Knoxville leaders hope to balance revitalization with affordability and inclusion. The Greenville model shows a baseball stadium can transform into an economic home run—but may also knock surrounding home values out of the park. With proactive planning, Knoxville’s stadium could spur growth that uplifts rather than uproots the existing neighborhood. The efforts around First Creek at Austin indicate Knoxville is already working to get ahead of rising costs before the first pitch is even thrown.

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