Knoxville City Manager Aaron Adams learned on a conference call Wednesday afternoon that the federal Housing and Urban Development office has not yet begun its review of the former VA campus.
HUD has up to 45 days to determine whether it would be able to utilize any of the buildings on the 163-acre campus for its purposes. This review was expected to begin Sept. 1.
Adams was told that HUD rarely utilizes its full 45 days to review and make a decision. Soon after, local governments have the opportunity to claim pieces of the federal land, which currently rests in the hands of the General Services Agency.
Though nothing is certain at this point, Adams speculates that if the City has the opportunity to take over parts of the campus for development, it would likely be the former residences on the south side of Pleasant. Perhaps the vacant land on the north side of Pleasant as well.
Ideally, the City would have a developer with a plan in place before taking on the expense of abating and removing the old residences, and the nearby vegetation the federal government is no longer maintaining.
The residences’ sewer service is connected to the same wastewater treatment plant on the campus that served the entire property. Adams believes the appropriate connections can be made to the land closest to Pleasant to aid in development.