Retail, restaurants coming to Kern's Bakery site in Knox

The Kern's Bakery development in South Knoxville has changed hands again, and with the change comes a new vision for the historic property.

Plans for the sprawling, 16-acre, mixed-use development at 2110 Chapman Highway will feature retail, restaurant, office and entertainment space inside the iconic building.

The site will also include 160 boutique apartments and a name-brand hotel.

The new development team, Mallory & Evans Partners, estimated the retail center and apartments will be completed by August 2020. Its principals are Brantley Basinger and Alex Dominguez. The sale closed May 2 and the price has not yet been disclosed.

The bakery was built starting in 1929, according to property assessor documents, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

“We are very sensitive to the nature of this historic site and feel the redevelopment fits perfectly into the long-term strategy of the South Waterfront Vision Plan,” Basinger said in a press release. “This redevelopment is going to be another strong investment in the ongoing revitalization of South Knoxville, one we hope would make Mayor Kern proud."

Boutique, smart apartments for millennials

The first phase of the Kern's project will be developing the boutique multifamily concept. Pre-leasing will begin in the fall.

It will be a mix of fully furnished one- and two-bedroom layouts with smart home technology. The developers hope to appeal to young professionals, graduate students and upperclassmen.

The two-bedroom units will have roommate-style floor plans with private baths and will offer a roommate matching service, according to the press release.

The complex will include amenities like a co-working space, pool, fitness center and skyline views.

“In building a wide variety of apartments, we have learned a lot about options that appeal to young people who want worry-free lifestyles as they embark on their adult lives,” Basinger said in a press release.

California-based Ozone Capital Management, LLC, is an equity partner for the multifamily concept and specializes in qualified opportunity zone investments.

The project qualifies for opportunity zone benefits, which are intended to spur economic development in distressed areas as established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The Kern's project will be one of the first in Knoxville to take advantage of this incentive.

'Eclectic' mix of restaurants and retail

The bakery building will be redeveloped into a 75,000-square-foot retail and restaurant center with open seating areas for events and live music.

Dominguez said in a press release the vision is an "eclectic, locally-sourced and highly curated mix of restaurants, smaller food vendors, specialty purveyors and even collaborative office space."

Work on this portion is planned to begin in July.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is how we’re going to connect the outdoor space we have available at The Bakery with the great work that Aslan Foundation, Legacy Parks Foundation and the G&O Railways have done building new trails between South Knoxville and Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness,”  Dominguez said in a press release.

Hotel will be developed last

The developers hope to add a name-brand, limited-service hotel in a later phase of development. They hope to appeal to visitors and business travelers with the access to dining and entertainment and a view of the Knoxville skyline.

Basinger is also a principal of Mallory & Evans Development and has developed multifamily across the Southeast. Dominguez is former senior director of real estate for Chick-fil-A and is the founder and CEO of Region One Commercial real estate firm.

The site was previously in development by Greystone Partners of Asheville, which bought it from developer David Dewhirst and his partners for $3.1 million in 2017. Dewhirst purchased the bakery in 2015 for $312,500 after it had shuttered in 2012.

Jimmy Ryan with Johnson Architecture is the project designer, for the Bakery, CRJA is the landscape architect and Wakefield Beasley and Associates is the architect for the apartments. Fulghum, MacIndoe and Associates, Inc., is providing civil engineering.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Breanna McDermott

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Published June 28, 2019