Knoxville/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 30, 2024
Knoxville's First Creek at Austin Wins Tennessee’s Best Award for Neighborhood StabilizationSource: City of Knoxville

Knoxville keeps raking in the accolades, snagging yet another Tennessee’s Best award, this time the neighborhood stabilization category goes to the bold First Creek at Austin project for injecting new life and affordable housing into the city's core. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) bestowed the honor at the Tennessee Housing Conference in Nashville, as reported by, recognizing those who go above and beyond in addressing the housing needs of Tennesseans.

Talk about a facelift. First Creek at Austin has transformed from the dated Austin Homes, built in 1941, into a vibrant community that offers a mix of residential options and amenities. Residents now step out their doors, and within minutes, they can shuffle to downtown or the Old City, not to mention they’re a stone’s throw from the incoming multi-use stadium and other local hotspots like shops and eateries, KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley told The City of Knoxville pumped a whopping $14.1 million into the site to get the infrastructure just right—roads, sidewalks, utilities—you name it.

The planning of First Creek at Austin was no overnight affair; it involved an extensive back-and-forth with residents and stakeholders, starting way back in 2019. Gensler and Johnson Architecture, local and global heavyweights, respectively, brought the master plans to life, setting the stage for what’s been described as a beacon of community development. A solid partnership of architects, contractors, and finance gurus took Phase 1 across the finish line in 2022, unveiling 105 units with a variety of layouts for diverse living needs.

There's more on the horizon, too, because Phase 2 is set to drop in 2024, bringing 180 units decked out with all the trimmings: think fitness centers and quartz countertops, plus those feel-good outdoor and indoor community spaces, a major draw for the new-age renter. Phase 3, though, now that's the cherry on top, aimed to start later this year, promises 161 units, including 50 spots earmarked for low-income seniors, complete with support services to make life that bit easier.

None of this would've been possible without the hefty financial booster shot from THDA's Low Income Housing Credit and Community Investment Tax Credit programs, which to date have funneled over $104 million into making First Creek what it is. THDA Executive Director Ralph Perrey commended the KCDC’s role in dramatically improving the quality of life in this Knoxville pocket, proclaiming that the First Creek at Austin will serve as a lasting positive force within the community.

Knock on wood, but KCDC seems to have the Midas touch with these Tennessee’s Best awards, having previously snagged neighborhood stabilization honors in 2019 for its Five Points redevelopment, as well as a nod for The Residences at Five Points back in 2017, proving that when it comes to housing solutions, they've got the market cornered on innovating for inclusivity.