Downtown hospital’s $115 million expansion OK’d

Covenant Health has received approval to move forward with a $115 million expansion of its Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.

At issue was a lot at the corner of 18th Street and Highland Avenue on which sit three Victorian houses and a former grocery store.

As part of the expansion, which includes moving and enlarging the hospital’s emergency department and designating more critical-care beds, the hospital system wants to extend its Highland Avenue parking garage, which sits adjacent to that lot and another Covenant- owned property.

Though the neighborhood itself is zoned medium-density residential, it has a neighborhood conservation overlay, meaning the city must review demolitions, additions and new construction, and is located within a National Register of Historic Places District.

“We appreciate the approvals by the Historic Zoning Commission, especially the most recent unanimous vote,” Covenant Health said in a statement.

“Covenant Health continues to work in partnership with Knox Heritage, the Historic Fort Sanders Neighborhood Association and the City of Knoxville regarding our health system’s $115 million investment in Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.”

Currently, the plan is to move one of the houses to Covenant-owned property, which the hospital system is donating. It’s willing to move the other two houses, but lots for those haven’t been located. The former grocery store, which suffered a fire in 2010, would be razed.

“The necessary expansion of Fort Sanders Regional will mean significant improvements in the availability of health care services in downtown Knoxville and the region,” the statement said. “We look forward to continuing to work with our neighbors to achieve this goal for the community.”

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Kristi L. Nelson

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit

Published July 6, 2018