KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee is exploring a public-private partnership to build an entertainment district next to Neyland Stadium featuring a hotel, condos, restaurants and retail space.
School officials announced Wednesday that they have begun a Request for Information (RFI) on the feasibility and impact of a Neyland Stadium entertainment district along the Tennessee River waterfront on the campus, city and surrounding area.
An initial proposed concept would be anchored by a full-service, 12-story hotel at the south end of Neyland Stadium with a rooftop bar or amenity space overlooking the home of Tennessee football.
At 12 stories, a university release said the site could accommodate approximately 215,000 square feet of space for hotel rooms, for-sale condominiums, event space, and other amenities.
The project could also include a ‘tabletop’ addition above the G10 Parking Garage to support additional tailgating, retail space, entertainment offerings, and waterfront views.
“Innovation is at the forefront of everything we do. The ideation of this new Neyland Entertainment District exemplifies that mindset. This is a massive project that has the potential to positively impact our entire city. We’re eager to see what world-class developers dream up to creatively maximize this extraordinary market opportunity. We have the capacity for constructing an entertainment ecosystem that doesn’t presently exist anywhere across the collegiate landscape.”Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White
The G10 tabletop concept would connect to Thompson-Boling Arena, which is level with the top of the garage. A project to build a pedestrian bridge across the Tennessee River to connect the arena with riverfront property recently acquired by the university has also gained momentum.
“Neyland Stadium has always been known for having one of the best gameday environments in college football. We love to welcome Vol Nation to campus on Saturdays in the fall,” Chancellor Donde Plowman said. “This project has the potential to create a year-round destination that engages the Tennessee River waterfront and enhances the campus and our community.”
It’s not yet clear what the public involvement on the proposal might entail, though a quote from University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd included in the announcement said it would not involve state funds.
“This public-private partnership opportunity will enhance the look and atmosphere of Neyland Stadium and the Knoxville campus while creating an additional destination for the city of Knoxville, all without state funding.”Randy Boyd, UT System President
The RFI will be open and available for four weeks. This process will help inform a Request for Proposal (RFP) for interested parties in the design and construction of the entertainment district.
Neyland Stadium is currently undergoing a multiyear renovation process costing nearly $300 million. A new LED lighting system, lower west sideline section with chairback seating, field-level club, second videoboard, and standing room social deck are among the additions that have already been completed.