Friday, December 28, 2012

State Street Garage Update- December 28, 2012

Please note the following press release:


            As part of the ongoing expansion of the State Street Parking Garage, the escalator from State Street to Gay Street next to the Regal Riviera movie theater will be closed permanently next week.
            The escalator will be shut down at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2nd, 2013. The elevator next to it will still be open, and a temporary staircase will be opened alongside it.

            The escalator is being replaced with an elevated walkway from the garage, which will cross State Street and connect with the public access way alongside the movie theater.   

            The State Street Garage expansion is a $6.1 million project that will add 250 new spaces to the garage’s existing 842 spaces. Construction is scheduled to be finished in early spring.

Here are a couple of pictures of the escalator and the new temporary stairwell.

Foundation work is still ongoing as well both inside and outside of the State Street Garage.

I hope everyone has a happy, safe,and prosperous New Year.
Thanks for your interest in Downtown Knoxville and in the State Street garage Expansion Project.

Friday, December 7, 2012

State Street Garage Update- December 7, 2012

The next Public Meeting to discuss progress and planning for the State Street Garage Expansion is scheduled for Thursday December 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm at the East Tennessee History Center on S. Gay Street.
Work on the garage foundation has gone well so far. For a number of reasons we are a little behind on our construction progress but we hope to make that up in short order.
Union Avenue will be down to one lane beginning Monday, December 10, 2012 and the entrance to the garage, as well as that entire level of parking, will be closed for approximately one week. We will open it back as quickly as possible and are hopeful it will not take that long, but to be safe we wanted everyone to use caution here.

The Christmas Parade is tonight along with First Friday and the Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk is tomorrow (Sat.) so we have a lot going on. In addition the Tennessee Theatre has a Broadway show in town so we hope everyone will use caution and plan for a little longer time to insure safety in this area. We will have flaggers at all closure points and also warning signs. We will likely have a lane closure around the entire parking structure in the near future so please be aware of that.

Our plans at this time are to begin some work around the escalator soon and to completely remove the escalator early in January 2013. Before that happens we will build a temporary stairwell along the HT Hackney parking lot that will end at the elevator which will be remain available for use throughout the project. Folks at HT Hackney have been great to work with and we are very thankful for their support of this project as we are with all of our other partners. A KUB transformer will also be moved and upgraded at this time in that same area. Our plans are to have the overpass constructed and open in March 2013.

Road closure timing has also changed some and we are now planning to close State Street first, probably around the middle of January 2013. A large crane will move in to place the precast concrete for the garage deck. This will be a massive undertaking. From 7 to 15 trucks will arrive per day bringing 8 ft by 60 ft sections of precast concrete to be used for construction. Work will be performed primarily during the day and possibly on some Saturdays. We hope to reopen a lane of traffic along the closed roads nights and weekends.
The work on State Street will take about a month and then will proceed down Union Avenue to Central Street. Central Street will then be closed for about a month with the same timing, that is we hope to have a lane open nights and weekends. We will finish up, then on Clinch Avenue in March.
This schedule insures that the overpass is in place and State Street is functioning as it was before all of our events in the spring.

I hope to see you tonight and at the Public meeting next Thursday.
Thanks for your interest in Downtown Knoxville and in the State Street Garage Expansion Project.

Friday, November 30, 2012

State Street Garage Update- November 30, 2012

Please note that we will be closing the sidewalk beside the State Street Garage to continue our work on the foundation. All has gone well so far and we are hopeful this trend will continue.

Several large events are coming soon to the Tennessee Theater so we are urging everyone there to use extreme caution both inside the garage and outside the garage along the sidewalks. One lane of State Street is also closed off and we plan to have flagmen on site. The surface parking lot on Union Avenue and State Street is a very good option for parking to avoid congestion.
The Christmas Concert at noon at the Tennessee Theater on Monday December 3, 2012 is always fantastic and brings an overflow crowd typically.
Below are a few pictures of some of the work going on inside the garage. By my count at least 70 parking spaces have been impacted at this time.
 These pictures were taken at the entrances on Union Avenue and on Clinch Avenue.

As always, thanks for your interest in Downtown Knoxville and the State Street Garage Expansion project.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

State Street Garage Update- November 21, 2012

Our foundation work for the State Street Garage is proceeding as scheduled. Union Avenue is now completely reopened although we will have another lane closure there and also on Clinch Avenue in the next few weeks to complete our work. Central Street will continue to have a lane closure for the next few months.

Here is another pic from original construction:

One lane of State Street will be closed beginning Monday, November 26, 2012 probably until the end of the year for foundation work . The pedestrian walkway will be maintained and we will have flagmen on site to help with safety. Please help us out by using caution and abiding by all of our traffic control devices in this area.
All entrances and exits to the Garage should be available until the first of the year.
The screened garbage collection area will be moved nearby and a temporary screen will be built until we can provide the permanent location. Our plan is to move this area to the other end of the Garage and possibly expand the site for future capacity.

Our next Public meeting to discuss the progress and planning of the State Street Garage Expansion will be held at the East Tennessee History Center on S.Gay Street at 5:00pm on Thursday, December 13, 2012.

Please join us Downtown Friday for the following event:

Friday Events Celebrate Gay Street and Christmas in the City
November 19, 2012 - A double-helping of holiday events this Friday, Nov. 23rd, will recognize a "Great Street" and also kick off Knoxville's Christmas in the City celebration for 2012.

At 5:30 p.m., in Krutch Park Extension, Mayor Madeline Rogero will join other local officials to celebrate the naming of Gay Street as one of 10 "Great Streets" in America by the American Planning Association. In adding Gay Street to its annual list for 2012, the APA cited the historical preservation efforts that have saved many of its buildings, and its continuing contribution to Knoxville's economy and vibrant arts scene.

Then, at 6 p.m., also in Krutch Park Extension, Mayor Rogero will lead the annual tree-lighting ceremony that begins the Regal Celebration of Lights.
A full evening of festivities will follow, including:
·  The return of ice skating to Market Square, with Holidays on Ice (rink opens at 10:00 am), with a ribbon cutting to be held at 4 p.m -
·  WDVX Holiday Ho-Ho-Hoedown entertainment 5:30-9 p.m. on Market Square Stage
·  Free train rides up and down Gay Street, with the Fezziwig Express picking up at the corner of Clinch Avenue and Market Street
·  Downtown Knoxville becomes a Christmas village with caroling and marshmallow roasting
·  Performances by French horns and voices
·  Free activities including pictures with Santa Claus, hot cocoa by the Salvation Army, Mrs. Claus Bake Shop, face painting, balloon animals & much more!

For more information about Christmas in the City events, +including tips on parking, visit

Also note the following:

Paving work that was scheduled to be done downtown on Church Avenue between Henley Street and Gay Street has been postponed until sometime in 2013.

The City has been notified that KUB will be doing some infrastructure work along the street in the near future, and so the repaving will wait until that work has been completed.

Paving on the eastern stretch of Church Avenue, between Gay Street and the Church Avenue viaduct, has proceeded as planned this past week and has now been completed.

Thanks for your interest in Downtown and the State Street Garage Expansion project.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Union Avenue street closure on Tuesday November 13, 2012

Please note the following press release:


            Because of the ongoing construction work at the City’s State Street Garage, Union Avenue between State Street and South Central Street will be closed to traffic for a week beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 13. This will also block the Union Avenue entrance and exit for the garage.

            The closure is expected to continue through at least Tuesday, Nov. 20. Other street and lane closures around the garage are expected as work continues during the next several months.         

Thursday, November 8, 2012

State Street Garage Update- November 8, 2012

Foundation work on the State Street Garage is ongoing and is being primarily conducted outside of the Garage on S. Central Street.

 Progress inside the garage has consisted of mostly prep work and some drilling so far but we plan to begin more intensive work in the next week or so which may impact some parking spaces.

I will post maps and pictures on this blog when we have a complete determination of the timing and area.

I found it interesting that when we removed a couple of the trees, we revealed the original (I assume) State Street Garage sign

In an effort to have complete communication and notice, our contractor provided the following signage which speaks for itself:

Some of the work has also moved onto Clinch Avenue resulting in a temporary street closure to position the drill.
Clinch Avenue will be down to one lane until November 21 according to the permit.

The Downtown paving program has also started and weather permitting we plan to begin work from the Church Avenue Viaduct to Gay Street and eventually on to Henley Street beginning November 12, 2012. We typically do this type of work on weekends but weather is becoming a factor and the street will be closed at least some of the time. Engineering has worked closely with the Presbyterian Church and also KAT on this timing for the needed repaving of this area. Here is the press release which is posted on the City of Knoxville website:

Paving operations are scheduled to begin on Church Avenue in downtown Knoxville on Monday, Nov. 12th. Paving will take place from the Church Avenue Viaduct to Henley Street, and this work will be done in two phases.

Phase I includes the section between the viaduct and Gay Street. It is anticipated this work will take 3 to 4 days to complete. The section of roadway between the viaduct and State Street will be closed during this time. However, traffic will be maintained between State Street and Gay Street, with lanes being closed on a rotating basis. Traffic will also be maintained along State Street.
Phase II includes the section between Gay Street and Henley Street. This work will begin Saturday, Nov. 17th. It is anticipated the work will be complete by the evening of Sunday, Nov. 18th. Lanes will be closed on a rotating basis, and through traffic will be maintained throughout.

Please be aware of the Veterans Day Parade which will be held this Friday November 9, 2012 downtown. If you have never attended, I would encourage you to come down for this very inspiring Parade and to honor all of our men and women for their service to our Country. Here is the notice from the City of Knoxville website:
Veterans Day Parade Nov. 9, 2012
Veteran's Day ParadeNovember 5, 2012 - Be a part of honoring and celebrating our Nation's veterans on Friday, Nov. 9 during the 87th Veterans Day Parade.

The parade is dedicated to the men and women who have served honorably in the United States Armed Forces.

The parade will start at 10:40 a.m. at the Knoxville Colisuem, run along Howard Baker, Jr. to Church St., right on Gay St., and will follow Gay St. til ending at Depot. Ave.

At 11:00 a.m. all parade participants will halt and face west while honors are rendered at the reviewing stand for veterans of all our country's wars.

Christmas in the City preparations are also well underway and the Christmas parade is scheduled for December 7, 2012 so please mark your calender for this as well ( )..
That day is also First Friday so come early and support our Art Community.

Thanks for your interest in Downtown.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

State Street Garage Update- October 24, 2012

Please be aware that we will have a lane closure along Central Avenue beginning today. This closure will be in the western lane along the State Street Garage in order to begin the work needed for the foundation  and new addition.

Additionally, as I stated in the last post, it will be necessary to remove some of the trees along the building this week.
We have engaged a landscape architect to help us plan for the new design upon project completion and actually met today on site to make sure we are doing all we can to insure a fantastic look while moving the project forward.

The bid packages have gone out and replies are due back to Retenbach Constructors, Inc. by November 14, 2012. Below is the notice placed in the News Sentinel:

Bid Advertisement State Street Garage One-Level Expansion Remaining Scopes of Work Public Building Authority Rentenbach Constructors Incorporated as Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) for the Public Building Authority is soliciting bids for the remaining scopes of work excluding those scopes already awarded (cast-in-place concrete, precast concrete, micropiles and elevators). Bid Package Manual may be obtained by contacting Neal Woodland or Doug Pettit at 865-546-2440. Bid Date and time is set for November 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM at the offices of Rentenbach Constructors Incorporated, 2400 Sutherland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37919. Rentenbach is an equal opportunity employer.

Lastly, here are some renderings of the garage addition and overpass with the roof. We are still looking at alternatives for the actual roof design so this is not the finished product. Thanks to Nathan Honeycutt of McCarty Holsaple McCarty for providing these pictures which were used during our Public Hearing presentation last week.


Now that construction has begun, I plan to post here more frequently.
Thanks for your interest in this project.

Friday, October 19, 2012

State Street Garage Expansion- October 19, 2012

Thanks to all those who attended our Public Hearing on October 11, 2012 at the East Tennessee History Center. Our next meeting will likely be scheduled at the end of November.
We are planning to begin some of the foundation work next week both inside and outside of the garage. In order to accomplish this, we plan to remove parking on the west side of Central Avenue along the garage to accommodate the equipment that we plan to use. Unfortunately we will also lose some of the trees in this process but we have a planting program which will follow our construction and we plan to make this area look even better when we are finished here.

Some of the work will also be done inside the building and here are a few pictures of this area.

This lowest part of the garage is used by the City of Knoxville for storage and also a holding area for government surplus property. Much of this is destined for We started offering our surplus property online in this form a while back and have had excellent response. Here are a couple more of the pictures depicting original construction as provided by Retenbach Constructors, Inc.

At the public meeting we shared that we have decided to build the overpass from the current top level of the garage to the landing near the escalator out of precast concrete. We feel this is a much nicer look than using a steel span and should make the work installation faster. We have also decided to build a roof over the new overpass and are still making decisions about that look. The picture below is a rendering of the precast look without the roof.

We also discussed ways in which we can communicate garage impacts on those parking there. We have around  600 monthly parkers and average around 150 transient parkers. The garage capacity is just over 800 so managing parking here is going to be challenging.   CDM Smith and McCarty Holsaple McCarty folks are helping me with pictures and renderings to share with you which will show the various areas that will be impacted by construction, probably on a weekly basis, when we begin the major effort. Since issues can arise quickly, I also plan to send an email to those on my State Street Garage update list. Republic Parking is our parking lot manager and they will also send info to those monthly parkers from their contact list.

It is going to be another busy weekend downtown so please take your time and have fun.
As always, thanks for your interest in Downtown Knoxville and this project.

Friday, September 28, 2012

State Street Garage Expansion- September 28, 2012

We are continuing to meet on a regular basis to discuss all aspects of this project. We now plan to begin some of the foundation work around the middle of October and we will be working both inside and outside of the garage. The initial work inside the garage will occur at the lowest levels which is currently used for City of Knoxville storage. I hope to provide some pictures soon of this interior area. Some temporary lane and street closures are expected during this time particularly on Central Street.

We have had much discussion about ways to inform the public of parking issues during construction and have asked the transportation planners and architects to provide some pictures and maps as we go along so I can post them here. Also signage both inside and outside the garage will be very important.
Our current thinking is that on any given day we may be using from 15 to 30 spaces for construction on various parking levels. As I stated in earlier posts, in January and February, the entire upper parking deck will out of service along with a few other spaces.
We are continuing to make decisions about the look and functioning of the new level and overpass and our hope is that all of this pre-planning will result in a quicker completion without undue complications. I am very impressed with the level of expertise of our team and their ability to completely think through all possible scenarios.
We also continue to meet with stakeholders and most recently met with our ADA folks. We are planning to add parking stalls to accommodate minivans which we believe will be very helpful and to also address other ADA issues with the current garage. Interestingly, we have discovered that the elevation from the existing upper level of the garage to the escalator only varies by a few inches so having accessibility here should provide a great transition from the garage to Gay Street. For those folks who may find themselves on State Street, we plan to change the crosswalk so that the overpass provides a covered walkway up to the stairway and elevator. Currently a KUB transformer under the sidewalk there has been problematic but we plan to move the transformer into the space created under the overpass nearer the Regal Cinema building.
Our next Public Meeting will be held on October 11, 2012 at the East Tennessee History Center at 5:00pm and I hope to have finalized renderings of the look of the new deck and overpass area.

As always, thanks for your continued interest in downtown.

Friday, September 14, 2012

State Street Garage Expansion September 14, 2012

We are continuing to finalize the design for the State Street Garage and I hope to have some detail on scheduling in the very near future. We are planning to begin construction in October and there will be impacts both inside and outside the garage at that time including possible lane closures on both State Street and Central Avenue during daylight hours. We have discussed planning a Public Update Meeting which is tentatively scheduled now for Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the East Tennessee History Center at 5:00 pm. We will send out a press release and of course I will post here when we get that date and time verified.
I am including here two of the most recent renderings of the new addition. Please note that we plan to construct a new elevator core which will align with the overpass over to Gay Street and over the escalator which will be removed. This rendering also depicts the stairway to be constructed and shows one of the ideas for the area after the existing elevator core is removed.

Since I know many of you have an interest in the historical aspects of this area, I am attaching here a page from the Sanborn Map series which was created in the early part of the century for fire insurance purposes. The area of the State Street Garage here is labeled “Elks Home” along with other businesses.

Lastly, here is another picture given to me by my friends at Rentenbach Constructors Incorporated of the original garage construction in 1980.
Thanks for your interest in this project and in Downtown Knoxville.

Friday, August 31, 2012

State Street Garage Expansion August 31, 2012

Thanks for your interest in the City of Knoxville's State Street Garage Expansion project. I am Rick Emmett, the Downtown Coordinator for the City of Knoxville.

As many of you know, the City plans to add an additional level to the existing State Street Garage. As our Downtown has grown, so has our need for increased parking opportunities. The State Street Garage is currently at capacity much of the time. We currently have approximately 840 spaces available and this new level will add at least an additional 240 spaces. A complete count is not yet available since we are still working through some construction details.

We have assembled a very good team I believe, with the Public Building Authority having the role of Project Management. Others associated include McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects, Rentenbach Constructors, and CDM Smith for traffic analysis and coordination.  City Engineering and KUB have also been key team members obviously.

Below is a picture I took recently of the existing stairway and elevator core.

I plan to provide updates here on a regular basis so folks will be aware of construction issues both inside and outside the Garage. A couple of years ago I provided a similar blog throughout the construction of the 100 Block of S. Gay Street. Below is the link to that blog if you have any interest in how that construction progressed.

We are still early in the process but we tentatively plan to begin some construction in October with much of the more intense work occurring in January and February. In those months we will have some road closures at certain times. We have met with the adjacent property owners and held a Public Meeting to unveil the plans as we had them on July 27, 2012 at 5:00 at the East Tennessee History Center .

Thanks to   for this post below on his blog of our earlier Public Meeting. ( ).  I think he did an excellent job of reflecting the presentation and discussion and it was much appreciated.

Below is one of the earlier renderings of the new level showing the overpass which we plan to create over State Street to Gay Street. Missing from this rendering is a stairwell next to the elevator next to the escalator which will be removed. While the escalator was a very good addition, the cost of maintenance and other issues have become very problematic over the years and it will soon require a very expensive upgrade. We believe providing the overpass will be a much better solution for the future. It will be safer, have less maintenance required over the long term, and provide a better transition for folks with disabilities.

I will update this very soon to show the latest rendering.

As I did with the 100 Block of S. Gay Street construction, I plan to try to have some historical pictures and details as well. Below is a picture my friends at Rentenbach Construction provided from the original Garage construction in January 1980. They also were involved in the original construction so it is a real advantage to have them available now as well.

Please feel free to forward this blog link to those you think may have an interest in the State Street Parking Garage Expansion project. If you would like to be included in my email list for blog updates, please send me your request at

I hope everyone has an enjoyable Labor Day weekend and is able to come downtown and to the waterfront on Sunday, September 2, 2012 to enjoy the Boomsday festivities
Once again, thanks for your interest in the City of Knoxville.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Welcome to the State Street Garage Expansion Blog.

The focus of this blog is to provide updates as we continue the expansion of the State Street Garage in Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.