New construction projects on the horizon

Daniel Oxendine, left, and Joshua Merman from McRae Plumbing and Excavating work on the construction site of what will soon be Firestone Tires on Market Drive in Lenoir City.

COVID-19 hasn’t slowed progress in one area as Lenoir City and Loudon continue with new projects.

Beth Collins, Lenoir City planner, said the virus hasn’t had much of an impact on the construction industry.

“This is typically the beginning of our busy season in the spring,” she said. “We’ve not had any kind of slowdown that I’ve seen. … We’ve had kind of an upswing on residential calls, inquiries on remodels. Seems like a lot of people are taking advantage of maybe this extra time to do a project at home — fencing, decks, that sort of thing.”

Travis Gray, Loudon inspector and codes officer, agreed there is consistency in construction work.

“Even through this COVID-19 emergency we’ve had, we’ve had consistent people building houses on a consistent basis,” he said. “Nobody’s really quit. We tried our best to get those permits out and keep them moving forward and letting these contractors and homeowners build them a home if that’s what they want. … There hasn’t been any slowing down.”

Loudon’s current projects are all residential, Gray said.

“Sweetwater Creek is going into its second phase,” he said. “We have a new subdivision at the interstate called Cedar Grove and they’re moving right along. I think they’ve got maybe 10 or 12 houses started in that subdivision. That’s pretty much the biggest part of our construction right now is in the residential market. We don’t have anything commercial or industrial going at the moment.”

Lenoir City has both residential and commercial projects in the works, Collins said.

“Commercial-wise, we’ve got Firestone Tire being built over at the market at Town Creek,” she said. “Of course, the Lenoir City fire hall over on Depot Street is being remodeled with additions. There’s a building called Lenoir City Retail Four located beside Gondolier so it’s a four-tenant space. Little Caesars is in there … Campbell’s Pool and Spa is going in one of the spaces. They’re working on it now. There’s a Jimmy Johns going into one of the spaces, and then we don’t know who the fourth tenant will be at this time. They’ve not submitted for our fourth tenant.”

There are also projects “coming down the pipeline,” Collins said. Avid Hotel will be going up on U.S. Highway 321 near Bimbo’s, and GatorStep Marine Decking will be relocating to Lenoir City from Knoxville.

Lenoir City will also have new residential projects.

“The Creekwood Villas that were going on, going to be built down on Creekwood Boulevard, that is still proposed,” Collins said. “They have actually moved the site down one parcel, so we’re kind of starting over with the process now. It’s going to be on our May planning commission agenda for rezoning and site plans. There’s a proposed 274 units. It’s one- and two-story apartments. The amenities that are being proposed, there’s going to be a clubhouse, a pool, a playground and a dog park. So it looks like a very nice thing.

“We also have a project off Williams Ferry that’s going to be called Harper Village, and that is the old Tennessee Baptist property, and that is a proposed 200 unit townhome development. Off Ash Avenue where the old Ash Trailer Park used to be, they are proposing a 100 single-family home subdivision.”