Pellissippi Place Opens, Anchors High Tech Future of Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley®

30 Aug, 2010, 19:30 ET from Blount Partnership

MARYVILLE, Tenn. and ALCOA, Tenn., Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- By any economic development measure, 450-acre Pellissippi Place, which elected officials opened in a dramatic evening "Lighting of the Park" ceremony Aug. 30, represents the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley® at its most ambitious.  Stunning new signage makes it clear that Pellissippi Place is now open for business.  

The overarching goal of Pellissippi Place is to accelerate the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley's already considerable high tech momentum and, in the process, create 21st century jobs.  Long term plans call for a combination of tech-based businesses and research companies, quality hotels and conference centers, residential dwellings, river features, biking-hiking trails and retail stores.

Located off of I-140 south of Knoxville, and across from Clayton Home's corporate headquarters, the park offers a sweeping vision for the future – one that reflects the region's sense of optimism and eagerness to work together.  With the opening of Phase I – the front 80 acres -- elected officials, business leaders and the economic development community say they have created one of the South's finest business addresses.  

Blount and Knox Counties and the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, Tennessee, invested $5 million each to buy and develop the site.  Such a level of cooperation between city and county governments is exactly what is needed, economic developers say, to leverage an entire region's assets and to attract investment and succeed in the global economy.  

New Website

Artists' drawings on the park's website, www.pellissippiplace.com, show how the emerging community will look someday – complete with river walks, tastefully designed structures and pedestrian bridges. The website also describes the types of research and development firms sought for the park and contains details about office space, available properties and long term site plans.

Comprehensive Planning

Planning such an ambitious project has taken years of work. What has emerged is a detailed usage plan that coordinates the look and feel of every aspect of Pellissippi Place. Structures, landscapes and work sites merge seamlessly, with the common thread being stewardship of the environment. The emphasis is on carefully planned, high quality growth within a coordinated, environmentally sensitive design scheme. All buildings will be LEED certified.  LEED (Leadership in Environmental Engineering & Design) guidelines from the U.S. Green Building Council require the highest levels of energy efficiency in building design.  

The entire project got a major boost last week with the announcement by Gov. Phil Bredesen that the State of Tennessee has awarded a $324,000 grant to build a 10-foot wide greenway connecting the award-winning Alcoa/Maryville Greenway to Pellissippi Place. The grant is made possible through a federally-funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Pellissippi Place's location itself was carefully chosen for its beauty and quick access to

  • McGhee Tyson Airport
  • East-West I-40, North-South I-75, I-140 (Pellissippi Parkway) and Highway 129 (Alcoa Highway)
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • engineering and high tech expertise throughout the Innovation Valley
  • the University of Tennessee campus and its much-anticipated research farm, and,
  • the cities of Maryville, Alcoa, Knoxville and Oak Ridge.  

In keeping with the mixed-use concept, Pellissippi Place eventually could offer retail professional office and entertainment venues, six restaurants, a cinema, hotel and 800,000 square feet of retail space, which would also accommodate an anchor store.  Retailers could draw an estimated 70 percent of their sales from the 300,000 residents living within a 15 to 20 minutes drive of the park.

There is a heavy emphasis on recruiting research and development companies, but to avoid sprawl, guidelines already in place encourage compact, multi-story construction and careful integration of all buildings into an overall modernistic aesthetic. One requirement, for instance, is that structures must connect to the park's greenway system. In return for following the guidelines, investors become paying and voting members of the owners and occupants association.

Upscale condominiums in Pellissippi Place's urban-inspired design will enable business professionals to live within walking/biking distance of their jobs and the park's leisure time amenities.

Open for Business

Opening ceremonies took place this week against a backdrop of growing interest in the cutting edge park.  Molecular Pathology, a Maryville, Tennessee-based biomedical firm, plans to construct a 33,000-square-foot building.  

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has also committed to widening State Route 33.  That improves access to Pellissippi Parkway (I-140) and alleviates rush hour traffic congestion along the state road.  

Leveraging the Region's Combined Assets

The Innovation Valley is a recognized leader in researching, developing and commercializing new technologies in such fields as energy storage, carbon fiber, bioenergy, instrumentation, advanced materials for the solar industry, nuclear component manufacturing and advances in many other nationally-identified priority areas.  

Business Facilities magazine just ranked Tennessee State of the Year winner, saying the state "has laid the foundation for robust growth in automotive manufacturing and clearly established itself as one of the players to watch in the alternative energy sector." The business publication, which is closely read by business decision makers and the economic development community nationwide, in particular praised the Innovation Valley's high tech expertise and many business collaborations with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Investors come to the Innovation Valley because of the region's

  • cutting edge research capacity

Research assets include the world's fastest supercomputer, a new biofuels facility, headquarters for Tennessee's solar initiative and a national lab that, among its many resources, houses the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source used to study materials at the molecular level

  • intellectual resources

Companies locating here know their employees can work side-by-side on a daily basis with world-class researchers.  Robust and highly competitive programs at the University of Tennessee and Maryville College as well as rapidly growing community colleges and technical training opportunities assure expanded expertise.

  • quality of life

Situated in a broad river valley between the Smoky and Cumberland Mountains, the Innovation Valley is home to the Knoxville Symphony, a lively entertainment and downtown living scene, and the new Clayton Center for the Arts.

  • willingness to work together

The strong connection between the research and economic communities couldn't be clearer: ORNL director Thom Mason serves as chairman of the Innovation Valley partnership. He says the lab focuses on "moving our science and technology into the marketplace."  Under UT-Battelle management, ORNL has grown from 3,700 to 4,700 employees and research funding has nearly tripled (from $640 million to $1.6 billion) in the past ten years.

For more information about Pellissippi Place and the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, contact Bryan Daniels, Blount Partnership, bdaniels@blountindustry.com, (865) 983-7715 or visit www.pellissippiplace.com.

Media representation: Clark Miller Communications.

SOURCE Blount Partnership