With an eye on expanding leisure, living and business options in the heart of Maryville, engineers and developers have proposed a new village-style development clustered around Cates Street.

Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc. Vice President and Knoxville Office Lead James Tomiczek presented plans for a “Greenway Village” at the city’s Aug. 23 workshop.

Set to be a smaller area reminiscent of a city square, the development combines a series of planned buildings and buildings already on the site.

The greenway

“The presentation to us had everything to do with this trail,” City Manager Greg McClain said in an interview. “We’re going to partner with them and they’re going to give us easement through the heart of this development to allow us to take our trail from the greenway down in the park to (the intersection of Gary H. Hensley Drive and U.S. Highway 321).”

McClain said the city is excited about the prospect of extending the trail this way, indicating it will lessen the amount of people who cross the trail in front of First Baptist Church of Maryville, a route considered to be slightly dangerous for pedestrians.

“Council is very receptive,” McClain said. “We’re going to be working with Tomiczek to try to get that thing built in about a year or so.”

He explained the new greenway is something viable enough that the city will probably put the project in its 2021 budget.

The village

The buildings are another story.

But Tomiczek said in an interview, given some of the enthusiasm about the existing buildings, he’s anticipating the project to move quickly once it’s underway.

McClain said Tomiczek recently bought a large portion of the land where the greenway and the new buildings will be developed, but didn’t want to do so until a discussion about the trail was finalized.

“It’s something that’s a positive addition for downtown,” Tomiczek said. “Part of what we are wanting to do is create some options for better destinations along the greenway. Wouldn’t it be great to get on the greenway, ride your bike or walk to a great restaurant that has a nice outdoor area? Maybe it’s a coffee shop, maybe it’s an ice cream shop, anything along those lines where you have businesses that do create a little downtown feel.”

Each of the seven proposed buildings follow that design aesthetic as each one — like the former Kizer & Black offices and other homes in the area — has a proposed porch facing the greenway.

All of the smaller existing buildings already on the site have now been transferred to new owners, Tomiczek said. Two are being dedicated to office space, one is a home and another will be a coffee shop.

The centerpiece of the area is the former Kizer & Black building and Tomiczek said that while they are in talks with a restaurateur about leasing the bottom level, they are open to other propositions.

“If people have a business they want to be located in this area, that building is one that could be ready very quickly.”

He also said he is open to design propositions for businesses that might be interested in moving in along the new greenway, adding that one of his primary motivations is creating something families visiting downtown Maryville with children can enjoy.

“I don’t see this being competition for downtown,” Tomiczek said. “I see it as an extension of downtown.” A section of planned greenway that runs up Cates Street to Gamble Avenue is meant to serve as a connection to the traditional downtown area.

“At some point in the future, I see there being the potential for a connection from this location up to Broadway,” Tomiczek pointed out, adding he is also currently involved in the development on West Broadway on an empty parcel of land next to Substance Solutions.

Several organizations are currently involved in the development, including LeConte Land Development and 212 Cates LLC, and the city workshop presentation represents the first time the project has been made public.

Having just purchased most of the property, Tomiczek said involved parties have not even thought about advertising the area yet. Even so, all of the buildings in the area — nine in total — have been sold.

Plans for development may change as the village-style project progresses and nothing has been presented to city planners yet. But McClain said city officials and council members are enthusiastic about the inherent possibilities and especially the greenway partnership.

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