See a birds-eye view of the proposed new Smokies baseball park
Come along on an FAA-approved drone flight over the Old City location of a planned Tennessee Smokies stadium development.
Randy Sartin, For the Knoxville News Sentinel
A $45 million nine-story condo building planned for the forthcoming Old City baseball stadium complex will be named after Knoxville native Beauford Delaney, a Black modernist painter associated with the Harlem Renaissance.
The stadium project has been pitched as a bridge between downtown and East Knoxville, home to many of Knoxville’s historically Black neighborhoods. It also is one block away from where Delaney’s childhood home once stood.
The stadium site is in an area once known by residents as “The Bottom” before Knoxville’s urban removal of the 1960s and ’70s forced out the largely Black population living and working there.
Tennessee Smokies Owner Randy Boyd and his GEM Community Development Group have been working with an advisory committee to ensure Black culture and history from the area is incorporated throughout the project. The development group also has pledged to partner with minority businesses and workers.
“We promised that this project would reflect the historical significance of the community and be true to its East Knoxville roots,” GEM president Steve Davis said in a news release. “Naming the first building after renowned artist Beauford Delaney and elevating cultural awareness is just one step in our efforts to preserve Black history at the stadium site.”
Plan for views of the city, home plate
The Beauford Delaney Building, which will be built adjacent to the stadium along the first-base line, would include between 35 and 45 condos depending on the final layout. Construction is slated to wrap up in the first quarter of 2024.
The timing coincides with the Old City debut of the Double-A Chicago Cubs affiliate, which will change its name to the Knoxville Smokies when the team begins playing at the new stadium.
The Beauford Delaney Building would include underground parking for residents, as well as ground level commercial space for restaurants and retail.
The fourth floor would be dedicated to amenities, including an outdoor deck for watching games and other events at the stadium. Business and fitness centers also are part of the fourth-floor plan, along with fire pits, grilling areas and a party room.
The higher floors will have units with views of home plate, according to the release, while the second and third floors will have “city-view units.”
The sale prices for individual condos have not been determined. Two or three additional residential buildings are planned for the site and will include apartments.
Delaney impact ‘cannot be overstated’
Delaney was trained in Knoxville and Boston before moving to New York in 1929 to participate in the Harlem Renaissance, according to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He became known for his portrayals of well-known African Americans and spent more than 30 years living in and around Paris.
“As comfortable with artists as with his neighbors in Harlem or Greenwich Village, Delaney conveyed his abiding love of mankind in paintings and drawings that ranged from the representational to the abstract,” reads his bio on the museum website.
His childhood home was demolished decades ago and has since been replaced with a historical marker overlooking the stadium site, according to the release. Delaney’s family later bought a Dandridge Avenue home less than one mile from the stadium site and adjacent to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center.
The Beck Center’s president, Renee Kesler, has led the historical and cultural advisory committee working with GEM.
“Beauford Delaney is by far the most important artist of the 20th century,” she said in the release. “His influence on the world of art cannot be overstated.”
More money being invested in stadium
The $74.5 million stadium, which will have a 7,000-person capacity, will be publicly owned on land given by Boyd. Stadium construction is scheduled to start this year.
Boyd has promised to bring at least $142 million in private money to build 630,000 square feet of restaurants, retail shops and residences around the stadium.
“In order to understand what was lost, it’s important to establish the history of what was once here,” Kesler said. “Randy Boyd and his team are making good on the promise to preserve Black history and culture at the stadium complex.”
Credit: Source link