Disadvantaged businesses looking forward to opportunity to be part of downtown stadium development

Shaun H. Ruff

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the proposed multiuse stadium project in downtown moves forward, the Knoxville Area Urban League is working with Gem Community Development Group to make sure disadvantaged businesses have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the project.

The Urban League held a meeting Thursday to help recruit minority contractors to assist with developments near the stadium just outside of the Old City.

Randall Turman’s construction business Elite Diversified Construction Inc. has been around for more than a decade. He knows opportunities like these don’t come around very often.

“This is one of the biggest projects since I’ve been in business that has come right here to the East Knoxville community,” Turman said. “It’s very difficult. Of course you know nobody just comes and starts with doing 100 and 200 million dollar projects. And it’s been very difficult. This is an opportunity for us to get in on the ground.”

It’s that difficulty that has him helping to recruit more minority and women-owned businesses like his.

“Right now, it stands to be an 85 million dollar project,” Turman said. “Which by my math is about 15 million that is going to be spent with (disadvantage business enterprises) only.”

Disadvantaged business enterprises, or DBEs, include businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities. The goal is to have a minimum of 15% of the stadium project work go to DBEs.

The push to use DBEs in this project is the same reason why Doug Hall attended the meeting.

“It’s always a challenge: the competition being a Black minority,” Hall said. “It’s an opportunity that everybody should try to get into, but for East Knoxville it would change everything in East Knoxville because it’s going to be tremendous.”

Hall is a project manager for East Tennessee Mechanical Contractors. The company has been around since 1978. They’ve had their fair share of projects in the area, but never anything as big as the proposed multiuse stadium that would house the Double A Chicago Cubs affiliate Tennessee Smokies and the One Knoxville Soccer Club.

“We do a lot of big projects in Oak Ridge and the Change Center, and we look forward to doing the baseball stadium,” Hall said.

The following trades are needed to begin the stadium project:

  • Excavation
  • Concrete
  • Structural steel
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Carpentry/drywall/ finishing
  • Paint
  • Roofing
  • Brick/masonry
  • Curtain walls/storefront

Business owners must register their business to get started. One way you can do that is through the KAUL website. There will be more meetings and networking opportunities before the stadium drawings are released at the end of the year.

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