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Why Knoxville’s ‘rocket ship’ Axle Logistics expanded to this revitalized downtown hub

June 9, 2023

Silas Sloan

Knoxville News Sentinel

One of Knoxville’s fastest-growing companies has opened an additional office in one of downtown’s trendiest neighborhoods. While Axle Logistics waits on an expansion of its North Central Street campus, the company has taken over 14,000 square feet at the redeveloped (and now full) 300 W. Magnolia Ave. The extra space makes room for new hires, Axle Vice President of Learning and Development Ali Fraley told Knox News.

The company has hired 120 employees this year. With 450 employees total, it is one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. as ranked by the Inc. 5000. “We joke all the time internally, we call it a rocket ship. That’s what it feels like,” Fraley said. “The growth has just been continuous. It’s been a perpetual year over year.”

An Axle Logistics sign visible from Interstate 40 has replaced the Free Tire Service sign at the multiuse building.

More:15 Knoxville-area companies named to ‘fastest-growing’ Inc. 5000 list

About 75 employees from Axle’s logistics consulting team have moved there, Fraley said, and there’s room for up to 200 people. It has an open floor plan that’s similar to Axle’s Central headquarters, and the company added a shuffleboard table and other amenities to the new space.

Axle is just one of the many businesses moving into that building on Magnolia.

More:Is downtown Knoxville growing north? Two Olympians think so and have tenants to back it up

Former Olympic gymnasts John Macready and John Roethlisberger purchased the building for $1.725 million in January 2020. It was previously owned by David Dewhirst and part of it was most recently a tire store.

Macready said the area has gotten a “shot in the arm” as new tenants has moved into the building. Along with Axle, the building is home to the relocated Double S Wine Bar and coming soon sports bar The Local Smokey. Another unannounced restaurant has signed a lease.

“As owners, we’re really excited to have them in there,” Macready said of Axle. “It was great to see that sign go up and have the place kind of be revitalized.”

How long will Axle be at 300 W. Magnolia?

The new office space is temporary for Axle while it waits for additions to its Central Avenue campus to be complete. Fraley said crews demolished the Brown Appliance Parts building next to the headquarters last week, and the 20-month construction process is slated to start in the next month.

The space in the Magnolia building will then be ready for another office tenant.

“Once we move back out and into phase two, that’s a great opportunity for another business to step into (the building),” Fraley said. “We’re happy to do our part and continue to bring more jobs to North Knoxville.”

Silas Sloan is the growth and development reporter. Emailsilas.sloan@knoxnews.com. Twitter@silasloan. Instagram@knox.growth.

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