Crossville council taps retail strategist for new development

By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor

CROSSVILLE – Deemed a “once in a lifetime deal,” completion of a new proposed retail and eatery development in Crossville could provide a significant boost to the city’s shopping roster and revenue stream.

A 33-acre property, approximately one-half mile from I-40 at the intersection of Hwy. 127 and Old Jamestown Highway, is being eyed for the new proposed development. Developer Carolina Holdings, Inc. (CHI), is currently pre-leasing the site; which is still in the very early stages of planning and development.

CHI, whose portfolio includes dozens of high-end retail development across the southeast, is a well-known name in the midstate; having served as the developer at Ridley Pointe in Smyrna; Merchant Pointe in Hendersonville; and the Providence Marketplace retail center in Mount Juliet.

“We feel confident they know what they’re doing,” said Crossville Mayor James Mayberry.

The city council recently approved allowing NextSite to assist with the development’s retail recruitment and marketing efforts. While they help promote sites like the one in Crossville, they also assist retailers with finding new locations that fit their particular demographic requirements.

According to Mayberry, the city worked with NextSite, then known as r360, in the past. They will represent the city at various networking, convention-type events.

When it comes to attracting retail development, Mayberry says the state doesn’t assist with or provide any incentives like those typically offered to land industrial development deals. That’s where NextSite comes in; helping to promote the city for future retail development. The city has also been in talks with the state’s department of transportation (TDOT) to address a few nearby intersection concerns.

This aerial photo, dated Oct. 14, 2016, shows the location of the proposed new development.

“In a rural community like Crossville, there’s not enough people here to support an operation like this; therefore, they need some help with infrastructure – kind of an incentive-type deal to help promote this to keep their rental rates reasonable for a company that would be interested in locating here,” said Mayberry. “But, we can’t get any help from the state to move it forward.”

In addition to talking with TDOT, the city has also been working with attorneys to draft an incentives package to lure potential tenants.

Progress toward the completion of the proposed development would boost the city’s chances of landing new retailers and eateries; all of which translates into jobs. The sprawling development would offer approximately 250,000 square feet of retail space and could mean a healthy boost to the city’s revenue stream and the addition of as many as 500 new jobs for the area.

Preliminary plans show a handful of larger anchor spaces, with at least one of those spaces being labeled as a potential grocery store.

The ripple effect of the eventual progress and completion of the proposed development could lead to the attraction of new talent with some of the area’s facilities.

“They want more amenities than Crossville has to offer,” Mayberry said. “In our hospital, we’re trying to recruit young doctors and we run into the same problem there … we don’t have the amenities to support their family’s lifestyle. This would be a big plus on that end as well.”

While no names are being mentioned publicly, Mayberry says there have already been letters of intent signed for the development. Work on the project needs to begin quickly, Mayberry said.

“We’re basically under the gun right now,” he said. “We have got to get something going. The developer has got on an option on the property – in other words, he’s paying the property owner to hold it – and they are ready to get moving A-S-A-P. We’re under the gun.”

A target completion date of December 2019 has been mentioned but nothing has been confirmed at this time.

Amye Anderson is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached at amye@ucbjournal.com.