Knox County Executive Mike Ragsdale and Worsham Watkins International announced Friday they have jointly agreed to end efforts to construct Universe Knoxville, a downtown planetarium/virtual space experience and museum.
"It is simply not the right time to move forward on this project," Ragsdale said. "The potential costs for a fully completed facility and questions about how it relates to other downtown projects create too many problems."
Earl Worsham of Worsham Watkins International said that the project would have been successful, but acknowledged that a series of factors have made it impossible to proceed.
"It is a loss for downtown and for the future of the community that we won't have Universe Knoxville," Worsham said.
Ragsdale said that the land where the project was planned remains a public asset.
"We will most likely contract with the Development Corporation of Knox County to look at all possible uses for the land," Ragsdale said.
He added that any option was on the table, including simply holding the land until other downtown developments now underway are completed.
"That may make the property more valuable and open additional opportunities," Ragsdale said.
But he said that other options that have been mentioned include a different destination attraction, an office building, a parking garage, a baseball stadium and residential buildings.
"We'll ask the Development Corporation to both seek public input and look at all options," Ragsdale said.