“DOWNTOWN OAK RIDGE”development PROPOSALs announced
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 2022POSTED: March 8, 2022
In the fall of 2019, the City prepared a vision for a future Downtown, which was adopted in January 2020. Following adoption, several important steps were taken in order to pave the way for private investment and development, including zoning changes, property acquisition and soliciting development. With zoning changes and property acquisition in place, on August 6, 2021, the Oak Ridge Land Bank held its “Toast the Town” event to announce a call for development proposals, (or Request for Proposals/RFP). Two excellent proposals were received in response to the RFP.
CLICK HERE for more information on the DOWNTOWN/WILSON STREET VISION
CLICK HERE for more information on the DOWNTOWN, D-1 ZONING
The Oak Ridge Land Bank (ORLB) recognized that having a plan was an important step, but land needed to be made available to encourage development. ORLB gained control of a major section of vacant land at the eastern terminus of the planning area, and offered it for sale to be developed in accordance with the Wilson Street Vision. Staff had spent the better part of two years raising awareness of the future opportunity and attempting to interest area developers in becoming engaged. Approximately 25 developers were contacted in person, via email and/or by phone.
Both proposals are
extremely responsive to the intent of the RFP and the vision for Downtown Oak
Ridge shown in the 2019 visioning
The guidelines for
Downtown development call for urban, mixed-use, multi-story
buildings, addressing the street in a form that creates attractive commercial
space, a walkable environment, and a ‘neighborhood’ also conducive to urban
residential development. Both proposals achieve these objectives, proposing
multi-story buildings with street-level commercial space and upper story residential
units. The joint master plan also envisions a common park/plaza area, widely
considered critical to the success of Downtown, and a common, appropriately
located parking lot.
If realized, the
combined development of the proposals would provide a significant jump-start to
the development of the corridor. While not guaranteed, this level of activity
would likely accelerate development and/or redevelopment of other nearby
properties, and the continuation of the corridor’s metamorphosis into Downtown
For questions or to request additional information, contact email@example.com; 865-425-3531.
City of Oak Ridge secured grant funding for this project under an agreement
with the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and coordinated
through the regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) for the
purposes of envisioning a new “Downtown Oak Ridge.” The goal of the study was
to explore what could be along the Wilson Street corridor,
including multi-story, mixed-use development adjacent to the ongoing retail
redevelopment of Main Street Oak Ridge. This location will serve as a catalyst
for new and expanded growth.
WUOT 91.9FM aired segments on
the downtown development project in early December 2019. You can listen to the
story or read it in full by clicking the links below:
Over the years,
multiple plans have highlighted the need for a central downtown that can
leverage new development and foster a stronger sense of identity and community,
from the 1988 Comprehensive Plan, to the City Center Plan in 2000, and most
recently in the 2019 Oak Ridge City Blueprint and amendments to the Main Street
The ideas were guided
by traffic analysis and land use projections for the Oak Ridge market. The City
of Oak Ridge and its Industrial Development Board have already improved Wilson
Street by resurfacing the roadway and upgrading the curb, gutter, drainage
system, and underground utilities.
can also download
and view a project overview by clicking here.
about the new downtown planning process or any other Planning & Development
project can be directed to the department by calling (865) 425-3531 or by