John B. Waters III


Contact Information

1111 N. Northshore Drive, Suite S-700
Knoxville, Tennessee 37919

Phone: 865-584-4040 x213
Fax: 865-584-6084

[email protected]

“Closing a deal is an art and a science. There is also some magic when it all comes together.”  


John B. Waters III concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate development, commercial transactions and business issues.

He represents developers in commercial real estate transactions and also represents lenders, buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. Waters handles projects in all stages of development – from optioning property through financing, zoning, acquisition, leasing and operating to selling projects, including “big box” developments such as Publix, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Meijer, Walgreens, Aldi and similar businesses. He has worked on projects throughout the Southeast. Between earning his college and law degrees, Waters worked for a national bank, a valuable experience for his legal career.

Waters has been lead developer counsel for these successful projects:

    • University Commons, Knoxville, TN; Walmart and Publix anchored
    • Northshore Town Center, Knoxville, TN; Target, Publix, mixed use
    • Stone Creek Towne Center, Colerain, OH; Meijer, JCPenney, Best Buy, Toys R Us
    • The Crossings, Niceville, FL; Walmart, Publix, Home Depot
    • Indian Lake Marketplace, Hendersonville, TN; Walmart, Home Depot
    • Daniel Boone Plaza, Hazard, KY; Walmart, Lowe’s
    • Publix and Aldi, multiple locations
    • Walgreens stores, multiple locations

Waters represents a variety of companies and individuals with regard to business transactions and related issues. He worked primarily in the areas of commercial litigation and bankruptcy for the first 15 years of his career and continues to represent clients involved in lawsuits, bankruptcies, workouts and similar adversarial situations.

Waters was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee College of Law from 1999 to 2020. He and law partner Dennis Ragsdale taught the real estate development module of the “Representing Enterprises” course.

Waters is an AV rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.  He was selected for inclusion in The Best Layers in America for his skill and experience in Real Estate Law.

He raced in more than 50 triathlons and continues to be an avid cyclist. He is a frequent participant in shooting sports, including Precision Rifle, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, Steel Challenge and other disciplines. Waters represents a number of clients involved in the shooting sports and firearms industries.

John Waters grew up in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains and continues to have family and business interests in Sevier County.


B.S., University of Tennessee, 1977
summa cum laude
Real Estate and Urban Development

    • Phi Kappa Phi
    • Beta Gamma Sigma
    • Sigma Chi

Juris Doctor, Georgetown University, 1981

    • National Moot Court Team
    • American Jurisprudence Award and Corpus Juris Secundum Award for significant legal scholarship


Tennessee, 1981

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee

U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit


Tennessee Bar Association

Knoxville Bar Association

Laurel Church of Christ, Elder

Testimonials & clients