Sunrise and Ribbon Cutting

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The grand opening of the South Retail Center at University Commons came early on the morning of August 28. The mayors of Knoxville, Knox County and city council members lined up with the big scissors ready to cut the ribbon.

Several donations were made to local charities, then the rush began to inspect this special multi-story tenant space. By noon the store was full and the shopping cart conveyor system seemed to be the talk of the day.

Mean while other smaller retail centers made ready for their openings this week. It seems many were determined to be open for the first weekend of football here in Knoxville. This has been a special project with great team work from all.

From Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) to Cutting the Ribbon

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The University Commons Mall complex was buzzing this week as the final C.O. was issued to the Northern Retail Center. Landscape, paving and stripping crews worked overnight and through the weekend on final touches. Final preparations were made inside the store, windows were shined and the stage was set for our grand opening.

Dignitaries from the city were on hand for the ribbon cutting, including city of Knoxville’s Mayor, the Mayor of Knox County and city council members. Several local news reporters were also on hand to cover the special event.

Other areas of progress included the smaller retails shops, most of which have their Certificate of Completion. Now build-out contractors have started their work.

On the other end of the project, the store team has taken over the Southern Retail Center, stocking for an end of August grand opening.

It has been a great pleasure to see a year and a half worth of team efforts produce such a special project.

Store Teams To Take Over Buildings Soon


Knoxville CollageNorthern Retail Center:

Shelves are in place but bare this week. Not for long…

  • Construction fixture crews completed their work last week working both night and day in preparation for the store stocking team scheduled to arrive on June 30th.
  • Final fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems and emergency lighting were all tested and approved by the Fire Marshall.
  • Elevators and escalators are in their final stage of testing and trim-out.
  • Correction of punch list items is well underway as crews worked through the weekend.
  • Parking deck has been cleaned and stripped awaiting team members.
  • Final touch-up cleaning near completion.


  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing final inspections have been complete.
  • Phone lines are being installed for testing of fire alarm systems.
  • Sidewalk installation is near completion.
  • Landscaping irrigation systems are also being installed.
  • Fire sprinkler systems will be in final testing next week.

Southern Retail Center:

  • Escalators and Cartveyors were set in place this week.
  • Elevator installation moved forward as scheduled.
  • Store fixtures installation is ongoing.
  • Atrium storefront glass has been installed.
  • Entrance stairs are in place and concrete pours are ongoing.
  • Permanent lighting was energized.

Making it Black: Paving Through the Night at University Commons

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Northern Retail Center:

  • With turnover of the northern retail center scheduled for June 16, paving crews started on Saturday afternoon and paved the main drive at University Commons Way until the wee hours of the morning.
  • Concrete crews moved forward with sidewalk pours on Sunday morning (Father’s Day) to ensure the space is ready for the large retail center on Monday morning.
  • Final cleaning crews worked through the week, dusting and polishing, in an effort to turnover a shining product to the client.
  • Site electrical crews also worked late during the weekend to turn on parking deck and exterior site lighting tall poles. The place was a glow as we completed final testing. Apologies for the power bill.
  • The north end of the parking deck is stripped and ready to receive fixture crews.
  • Coolers and freezers have been energized and are holding their required temperatures.
  • Telephone lines have been installed and are “hot.”

Lower Level Retail Shops:

  • Work on all retail shops is substantially complete.
  • Final inspections are being completed on a daily bases with perm. Power is available at all locations as required.

Southern Retail Center:

  • Terrazzo flooring is complete inside the main building.
  • Storefront installation is ongoing at the multi-story atrium.
  • Shelving installation is ongoing.
  • Coolers and freezers are installed.
  • Perm power is also available.

Joe Johnson Bridge Ramp:

  • Bridge work is complete except for minor punch list.

We still have much work to do before opening dates in August – but we see light at the end of the tunnel.


Crunch Time in Knoxville

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With turn-over scheduled in no less than 6 week for some buildings, activities are a blur both inside and outside at UT Commons.

Northern Retail Shops

  • Final polishing of concrete floors ongoing
  • Bathroom tile complete
  • Bathroom fixture and accessory installation ongoing
  • Refrigeration equipment set in place and vacuum testing of lines underway
  • Exterior brick work complete
  • Sidewalk installation ongoing
  • Escalators set in place and final electrical connections ongoing
  • Elevator equipment onsite – installation to begin Monday of next week
  • Shopping cart lift installation ongoing
  • Atrium storefront installation ongoing
  • Atrium painting ongoing
  • Subway construction near completion
  • Electrical trim out ongoing
  • Gas piping under final testing

Southern Retail Center

  • Atrium framing and sheathing complete
  • Terrazzo floor installation starts this week
  • Sales area ceiling grid complete
  • Sales area light fixture installation ongoing
  • Overhead MEP rough-in in the sales area complete
  • Wall paint in the sales area ongoing
  • Brick work ongoing at atrium
  • Elevator shaft construction ongoing
  • Wall tile installation ongoing
  • Transformer installation complete and “HOT”
  • Atrium roofing ongoing
  • Main roof complete

Shops A

  • Structural steel complete
  • Framing and sheathing complete
  • Brickwork ongoing
  • Slab pours complete
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Roofing installation to start next week

Shops B

  • Upper and lower slabs complete
  • Interior framing complete – both levels
  • Sheetrock finish work ongoing upper level
  • Sheathing on lower level interior walls – ongoing
  • Overhead and in-wall MEP complete – both levels
  • Brickwork complete – except north end at common area upper slab
  • Storefront installation nearing completion

Shops C

  • All concrete slab work complete
  • Structural steel complete
  • Exterior sheathing and brick work complete
  • Placement of Stone complete
  • Installation of vapor intrusion system complete
  • Forming for slab on grade pour to start early next week
  • Storefront installation to begin next week

Shops D

  • Structural steel complete
  • Exterior framing and sheathing complete
  • Roofing complete except for trim metal
  • Overhead sprinkler system complete
  • Ready to start brick work
  • Designed as “cold dark shell” so very little finish work required on interior

Shops E

  • Structural steel complete
  • Framing and sheathing complete
  • EFIS ongoing
  • Sprinkler system complete
  • Roofing to start Monday
  • Designed as cold dark shell so very little finish work required on interior

Site work

  • Curb and gutter installation ongoing
  • Final utility tie-in to start next week

Rooftop Equipment Lift Sets New Record for Stewart Perry

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The last few weeks have been special here in Knoxville. Last week, a 550-ton capacity crane was moved onsite for a special lift of the rooftop units at the southern retail center. This process involved over 12 truck loads of crane parts that we assembled onsite. This was followed by 5 more loads of equipment including a generator, refrigeration equipment and HVAC units that were placed on the roof of the adjacent building.

The use of this large crane was required as the back of the mall is inaccessible for heavy equipment. The crane include over 200 feet of boom to reach the rear of the building.

Progress in other areas of the project included the following:

Shops A:

  • Steel erection complete
  • Underground MEP work ongoing

Shops B:

  • Interior framing of upper level shops
  • Brick work on upper level
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Lower floor slab poured
  • Lower level overhead MEP
  • Lower level framing
  • Roofing ongoing

Shops C:

  • Slab on grade poured
  • Framing of walls ongoing
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Roofing ongoing

Shops D:

  • Footing complete
  • Steel erection ongoing

Shops E:

  • Steel erection complete
  • Topping slab poured

Northern Retail Center:

  • Final painting ongoing
  • Novar controls – termination in progress
  • Atrium cart lift install started
  • EFIS – ongoing at atrium
  • Brick complete at atrium
  • Cart curbs poured in atrium
  • Subway – In-wall inspections complete
  • Office areas – above ceiling inspections complete
  • Bathroom tile work to start next week

Southern retail Center

  • Atrium second level floor poured
  • Second level patio poured
  • Overhead MEP ongoing
  • Interior wall framing ongoing

Site work:

  • Cable TV/date system conduit install
  • Site lighting conduit started
  • Utility tie to shops ongoing

Permanent Power Energized at Northern Retail Center

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After the snow, ice and frigid weather of the past weeks, it has been nice to see days in the 50s and 60s with blue skies. This has allowed progress in the following areas:

Northern Retail Shops 

  • Permanent power activated
  • Paint of ceiling complete as well as walls in offices, pharmacy and guest service areas
  • Ceiling grid installed in all areas
  • Lighting and ductwork trim-out in ceiling grid
  • Bathrooms complete and ready for tile
  • Exterior EFIS near completion
  • Build-out of food service area released and ongoing
  • Piping of walk-in cooler and freezer complete
  • Remaining parapet and gutter installation ongoing
  • Atrium brick work ongoing
  • Atrium wall framing complete – MEP wall rough-in started
  • Atrium roofing to start early next week
  • Electrical trim out at painted walls 

Southern Retail Center

  • Atrium steel erection nears completion for this phase
  • 5 of the total 6 topping slabs have been completed – wet curing ongoing
  • Overhead MEP rough-in was ongoing before topping slab began
  • Under-slab electrical ongoing and coordinated with floor pours
  • In-slab plumbing ongoing and coordinated with floor pours
  • Block fill/painting of exterior block ongoing an point-up
  • Brick work near completion on main building – cleaning of brick ongoing
  • Transformer pads poured
  • Roof cap sheet system installed

 Shops A

  •  Structural steel erection ongoing 

Shops B

  • Underground MEP complete
  • Fine grading of sub-grade complete
  • Placement of stone complete
  • Installation of vapor intrusion system complete
  • Slab on grade forming ongoing

 Shops B-1 

  • Slab pour complete
  • Build-out framing ongoing
  • Overhead MEP and sprinkler piping ongoing
  • RTU Curbs and MEP roof penetration installed
  • Roofing to start next week

 Shops C

  • Underground MEP complete
  • Fine grading of sub-grade complete
  • Placement of stone complete
  • Installation of vapor intrusion system complete
  • Forming for slab-on-grade pour to start early next week

 Shops D

  • Building pad complete
  • Footing work to start on Monday

Weather Still An Obstacle, But We Are Determined

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Knoxville, like the rest of the Southeast, was hit with yet another snow storm. This storm brought as much as 5 inches of snow to the area. This storm impacted work at UT Commons. We are starting to see warmer weather so our hopes are up that Mother Nature will play nice in the coming weeks. Updates on progress follow:

Northern Retail Center:

  • Brick work at atrium ongoing
  • Framing/sheathing of rear atrium tall wall complete
  • Internal atrium upper and lower rooms and elevator shaft walls ongoing
  • Interior sheetrock finish work near completion; wall sanding to begin next week
  • Painting of ceiling ongoing
  • EFIS work ongoing

Southern Retail Center:

  • Phase one of roofing operation complete
  • Overhead MEP rough-in ongoing
  • Plumbing drain installation ongoing
  • Layout and forming for topping slab started
  • Generator pad forming ongoing
  • Secondary conduit from transformer complete
  • Conduits for generator feeds complete
  • RTU and mechanical curbs on roof
  • Block work at loading dock complete
  • Steel erection at loading dock ongoing
  • Steel erection for atrium ongoing
  • Brick work ongoing

Shops  A:

  • Footings complete
  • Steel erection to start this weekend

Shops B:

  • Upper level slab pour complete
  • Street level underground MEP complete
  • Sheathing of exterior upper walls ongoing
  • Fine grading for lower level slab to start on Monday
  • RTU curb installation ongoing

Shops C:

  • Framing and sheath of parapet wall near completion
  • Underground MEP rough-in ongoing

Shops D:

  • Final grading of pad to start next week
  • Footing to follow

Shops E:

  • Steel erection ongoing

Parking Deck:

  • Fine grading of last light duty paving slab complete – Pour scheduled for Monday of next week
  • Last Transformer Pad pour
  • Parking deck lighting ongoing

Impact of Southerner Snow Storm Also Touches Knoxville

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The snowstorm that belted the southeast last week was also felt in Knoxville. Fortunately, the city was more prepared than most. Salt trucks were out early, so it was more of an inconvenience than a grid lock. People leaving our pre-construction meetings and returning to offices in the Atlanta area were trapped roadside (or in hotels, for the lucky ones) for as long as 24 hours. Onsite, the cold weather continues to be an impact to our pace but progress was made in the following area:

Northern Retail Center

  • Brickwork was completed on the north side of the building
  • Atrium framing and sheathing was completed, dampproofing applied and masons moved in to start brickwork
  • Interior walk-in coolers were erected
  • Cleaning and application of floor polish materials were applied when temperatures allowed
  • Sheetrock finishing moved forward
  • Fire sprinkler piping was complete and air tested due to temperatures
  • Permanent overhead light fixture installation nears completion
  • Secondary wires were pulled from switchgear to transformer. Our goal is to have permanent power by mid-February
  • Landings and ramps at doors poured

Retail Shops C

  •  Structural steel and roof decking complete
  •  Stud wall roof framing began
  •  Underground MEP to start next week

Retail Shops B

  • Structural steel and roof decking complete
  • Stud wall roof framing began
  • Underground MEP to start next week
  • Revised drawings in review

Shops E

  • Structural steel erection ongoing

Southern Retail Center

  • Structural steel and decking of main building completed
  • Overhead MEP started
  • Under-deck MEP started
  • Plumbing Floor drains coring moves forward – 85 complete
  • Revised drawing in review
  • Atrium elevator, escalator and cartveyors pits installed
  • Atrium footings installed


  • Site Fire and domestic water system installation nears completion

Site Concrete

  • Last retaining wall at ramp poured