First Creek at Austin Wins Neighborhood Stabilization Award

Knoxville's redevelopment project receives prestigious Tennessee housing award.

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has been recognized for its exemplary efforts in neighborhood revitalization with the 2024 Tennessee’s Best award in the neighborhood stabilization category. This distinction was awarded by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) during the Tennessee Housing Conference held in Nashville in March 2024. The Tennessee’s Best awards are designed to acknowledge outstanding achievements in the field of affordable housing across various categories, including production, design, development, financing, policy promotion, and service inspiration.

The award-winning project, First Creek at Austin, is a redevelopment initiative built on the historic site of the former Austin Homes, which was established in 1941. This nearly 23-acre property was among the oldest managed by KCDC. The redevelopment has transformed the area into a diverse and vibrant community near downtown Knoxville, significantly increasing the availability of affordable housing in a time of great need.

Ben Bentley, KCDC Executive Director and CEO, highlighted the project’s impact, noting that residents now enjoy close proximity to downtown amenities, including a new multi-use stadium, job opportunities, dining, entertainment, parks, and retail spaces. The City of Knoxville supported the redevelopment with a $14.1 million investment in infrastructure, such as utilities, sidewalks, and roads, contributing to the creation of a well-connected neighborhood.

The master planning process for First Creek at Austin was a collaborative effort between KCDC, the global architecture firm Gensler, and Knoxville-based Johnson Architecture, developed through extensive community engagement starting in 2019. The project is unfolding in three phases, with the first phase completed in 2022, introducing 105 housing units of mixed types and styles. The second phase, set to open in 2024, will add 180 one- to three-bedroom units with modern amenities.

Funding for the first two phases exceeded $104 million, sourced from THDA’s Low Income Housing Credit and Community Investment Tax Credit programs. The final phase, commencing later this year, will focus on providing housing for low-income seniors, incorporating supportive services to foster independent living.

This is not KCDC’s first recognition by the THDA; the corporation previously won Tennessee’s Best awards for its redevelopment efforts in the Five Points area and for The Residences at Five Points, a project serving seniors and individuals with disabilities. These acknowledgments underscore KCDC’s ongoing commitment to improving Knoxville’s neighborhoods through high-quality, affordable housing solutions.

For more information about Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation and its initiatives, interested parties can visit or call 865-403-1100.

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