Hope for a Lost State Office Building

No one expects much largess for Knoxville in the short term, even though Mayor Bill Haslam is going to Nashville as governor. Budget shortfalls should keep state spending tight for the foreseeable future. But once the recession is over there is some hope Knoxville might see some long-standing projects come to fruition.

There has long been a proposal for a new state office building for downtown. The current building, on the World's Fair site next to the Holiday Inn, was built at the time of the World's Fair. The state Supreme Court has moved into the former U.S. Post Office on Main Street, leaving a vacant block across Henley from the Convention Center. The original master plan was to use the site for a new state office building.

The site has also been looked at for a convention center hotel or an office building with condos on top, though the recession stalled that plan. Look for an office building with space leased to the state to cash flow it and condos on top as one possibility.

Any state office building would have to be approved by the State Building Commission. That organization now is composed of the city's former mayor, his fellow Republican leaders from the House and Senate and the Republican constitutional officers.