The Chattanooga firm of Kinsey, Probasco, Hays has agreed to purchase a former Alcoa Inc. aluminum plant near Alcoa, Tenn., and redevelop the site into a downtown for the city.
“In the next six to nine months we should be in a position to begin development,” said Jon Kinsey, former Chattanooga mayor and president of Kinsey, Probasco, Hays. “It is right at the entrance to the Knoxville airport and it is surrounded by two significant highways, so we feel it is an opportunity to really do something world class for that area and provide a new downtown for the city of Alcoa, which does not have one presently.”
Mark Johnson, city manager for Alcoa, Tenn., said the city incorporated in 1919 primarily as a companion to the aluminum plant and took the same name. There was never a proper “downtown,” which he hopes the new development will change.
“We’ve been working with the aluminum company to determine a use for the old plant for 10 years,” Mr. Johnson said. “We look forward to working with Kinsey, Probasco, Hays, and I think we are all singing from the same page.”
Mr. Kinsey said his firm has an agreement to purchase the property and to develop it, but he declined to disclose the purchase price.
He said developers are talking with city officials to determine how to develop the property, which he anticipates will cost “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Melissa Copelan, spokeswoman for Alcoa Inc., emphasized that the development will be for public use and will have nothing to do with aluminum production. She said developers are speaking with city officials and community leaders to determine how best to use the property.
“They are laying the framework for what the full scope of work would be,” she said. “All of those details are still in discussion at this point.”
Mr. Kinsey said he expects the property will become a mixed-use facility and hold residential, commercial and office space.
Because the plant operated as a manufacturing facility for many years, Mr. Kinsey said there could be some environmental problems, but they are “not significant.”
International Risk Group, based in Littleton, Colo., is experienced in environmental remediation and will handle any cleanup before construction begins, Mr. Kinsey said.
“This is a 370-acre parcel that the Alcoa company has owned for 90 or 100 years,” he said. “We see this as a place where people can live, work and play — all right there.”