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Report Shows Knox County Development Trends 

May 18, 2021 | More News

Stay-at-home-orders that caused a pause in construction in early 2020 and material costs that are significantly higher than this time last year prove that Knox County’s construction scene has not been completely immune to impacts from COVID-19. Despite these setbacks, local development has fared well over the last year.

As anyone who is familiar with the residential market can attest to, demand for housing is outpacing supply. While there was a nine percent dip in residential building permits since the year before, five-year trends show that those permits are still up 18.5 percent from 2016 and growth in residential construction is expected to continue. The Northwest and Southwest County Sectors once again eclipsed neighboring areas. Northwest County came out on top with 1,161 residential units and is home to the County’s largest subdivision, Coward Mill. Southwest County trailed behind with 744 units.

Non-residential construction saw a decrease of 26 percent from the previous year, though it is still trending up from five years ago. Several sizable projects were completed, and Northwest County’s addition of 29 units led the way. East County followed closely with 23 units, 19 of which were built within Forks of the River Industrial Park and caused a 375 percent increase in industrial development for the sector. Of note are a $14.6 million addition to Island River Warehouse and construction of Superior Steel, valued at $8 million.

Other notable activity from the past year is an uptick in land that was rezoned from agricultural to residential. The largest of these was a 249-acre property on Swafford Road in the Northwest County. That land was formerly zoned for agricultural and technology overlay purposes and was rezoned for planned residential.

Despite disruptions in 2020, Knox County’s construction industry seems to be on track for continued growth. Popularity in the Northwest and Southwest County Sectors continues, and demand for residential development shows no signs of slowing.

Knoxville-Knox County Planning has been reporting on development activity annually for more than 30 years. For more information or a screen-reader accessible version of this report, contact Aubrey Weiland in our Information Services division or visit our website for past reports.