The former St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville could find a new purpose as the headquarters for the Knoxville City Court, as well as the police and fire departments.
The Knoxville City Council voted 7-1 last night to approve a $40 million plan to purchase and convert the southern portion of the nearly 20-acre former hospital site for its new public-safety complex. The city will purchase the property for $1.
The approval includes a budget exceeding $2.6 million for architectural services, along with nearly a quarter million dollars in environmental and geotechnical consulting.
The complex includes a parking garage with more than 700 parking spaces, two office buildings and a pavilion that the city intends to renovate and use.
The fate of the rest of the site has not yet been fully decided. The north campus may be demolished to make way for redevelopment, except for the historic hospital center. The city is also said to be negotiating with Lincoln Memorial University for the tower, which it would use for its nursing program among other possible uses.
The city has until December to close on the property, pending inspections. They’ll soon be entering their 120-day due-diligence period soon, during which time they’ll bring in their environmental team and designers to inspect the facility and evaluate it for potential structural and/or environmental concerns.
The current plan provides for nearly a year’s time for design work, 18 months for construction and two additional months to move the police and fire departments in to their new digs. The renovation is expected to begin in 2020.