With the potential exodus of Tennessee Temple University, Highland Park residents aren't worried about the empty space. The opportunity for growth is enough to keep the neighborhood excited, said president of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association Mike Wilson.
"Of course Tennessee Temple has been an integral part of this neighborhood for many years, and it's sad to see them leave. There is certainly a sense of loss," Wilson said, "but there have been a lot of things happening in this area. You can hear the saws and hammers and new people are moving into the area."
Highland Park is a large neighborhood close to downtown that encompasses 1,200 homes in the area bound by Main, Holtzclaw, McCallie and Willow streets. Wilson said he was drawn to the community because of its diversity, but he'd like to see development in the area.
Tennessee Temple's 21-acre campus, which has been host to thousands of students in the area for decades, could be the perfect opportunity. The college is looking to move to Tyner and has put its Highland Park campus on the market.
"We're excited about the opportunity. There are so many things that can happen. Coffee shops, restaurants ... even if an educational system like Covenant or UTC came in, it'd be good to keep the people here in the neighborhood," said Wilson. "There is really a lot of room for commercial development, which can really improve the community."
With more opportunities in the area, the neighborhood could continue to see growth and revitalization, he added.
While there is no official word on offers for the campus, listed by Herman Waldorff Commercial Real Estate for $19.6 million, the neighborhood association is eager to work with a developer or potential buyer, said Wilson.
"Of course, we hope anyone who is interested in the property consider the neighborhood association. We are very active and we think being involved is key," he said. "This is not only where we live, it is our home and we have such a sense of community here."