This year's first Sundown in the City event marks the return of the weekly concert series to Knoxville and crowds of people to redeveloped Market Square.
Two square blocks between Union Avenue and Gay Street, and Walnut Street and Wall Avenue, make up Market Square, a former Knoxville open market that began a three-stage redevelopment project in 2001.
William Lyons, senior director of Economic Development for the City of Knoxville, described his initial intentions for the Market Square Redevelopment Plan.
"It was to make Market Square an active center for entertainment, residential life and also retail," Lyons said.
Now, after completion of the first two developmental phases, Lyons said he considers Market Square a success.
"Life down there is something unique," Lyons said.
Recent improvements have allowed Sundown in the City, a joint cooperative between the Market Square District Association and AC Entertainment, to attract larger acts than ever before, according to Ted Heinig, vice president of booking for AC Entertainment.
"The artists that are playing Sundown, especially in the past, are attempting to develop their interest in the Knoxville area. The opportunity to play before 5,000 people is extremely positive," Heinig said.
However, he said this year's acts already have large fan bases in Knoxville, due to Sundown's growing reputation in its seventh year and Market Square's increased capacity.
This year's line-up includes Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Steve Winwood, Galactic, Robert Earl Keen and others.
Lyons and Heinig said they are hoping the university community will be attracted to Market Square.
"I think the businesses that go down there appeal to students," Lyons said.
"The University of Tennessee faculty, staff and students is definitely in the forefront of our minds in booking anything," Heinig said.
Lyons said the proposed movie theater would go on Gay Street, feeding off of the extension of Krutch Park and bringing more people to the Market Square area.
"I know the business has been pretty good down there," Lyons said. "Residences have come up above retail."
He said there were people even talking about building a grocery store.
Lyons said that the Kinsey Probasco development team became instrumental in the planning of the three-phase Market Square redevelopment, working closely with landowners to negotiate the changes necessary for the project.
Published: Wed Apr 07, 2004 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 06:02 p.m.