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University Commons, Knoxville, Tenn.


CHM has broken ground on University Commons, billed as the first urban, vertical retail complex in Knoxville, Tenn.

The multi-story urban shopping and dining development, located on the former Fulton Bellows site adjacent to the University of Tennessee, will cover 12+ acres, with 211,000 sq. ft. of retail space and parking. Anchored by Walmart and Publix, University Commons will add another 40,000 sq. ft. of smaller shop space once the project is completed.

According to Mike McGuffin, a partner with CHM, the urban retail complex will fill a grocery and retail void in the downtown and University areas, providing grocery/supermarket services in what is considered a federally designated “food desert.”

McGuffin projects that University Commons will have an approximate economic impact of $226 million on the Knoxville community and create more than 1,500 jobs. “We believe University Commons will be an excellent example on how public and private partnerships can create viable, economically sound projects for a community while enhancing the quality of life for its residents,” he said.

According to CHM partner Jim Harrison, University Commons transforms a once non-productive real estate brownfield into a developmental asset while anchoring several other major public and private development efforts in the area including the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project. “Together, University Commons and the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project will change a semi-suburban area, often used as a pass-through, into a safe and attractive urban district for the community,” said Harrison.

“University Commons and the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project are great complements to each other,” add Budd Cullom, the third member of the CHM development team.

Walmart and Publix are slated to open in summer 2014.

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