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guestview: Tom Rosseel
Reaching out at ICSC

Ah, Las Vegas: Casinos, nightclubs, lost reservations, long lines, 99-degree temperatures, and much more; a city that doesn’t sleep!

So why would a town of Farragut alderman and the Town associate administrator travel to Las Vegas in the middle of May on Town funds?

Well it just so happens that Associate Town Administrator Gary Palmer and I attended the 50th Annual International Coun-cil of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Spring Convention May 20-22 on behalf of the Town. Along with a human sea of more than 50,000 developers, financial wizards, retailers, architects and municipal leaders from all over the country, we walked among trade booths covering more than 2 million square feet of convention space. Our purpose was to meet with current and prospective developers and retailers in order to better market the town of Farragut.

For example, in addition to speaking with more than 30 retailers and restaurateurs about our town, we met with area developers, such as the Farragut /Turkey Creek Land Partners, Colonial Properties, Blanchard and Calhoun (new Krogers) and Horne Properties, their partners and their potential clients. We also met with area colleagues including representatives of the City of Knoxville and the Downtown Knoxville Central Business District.

We carried with us an information packet that showcased the town’s subdivisions, parks, greenways, economic vitality and potential, local and regional amenities such as the Smoky Mountains and our area lakes, the regional impact of The University of Tennessee and the Department of Energy Oak Ridge facilities, maps of our commercial-zoned districts and advice we received from area developers such as Michael Bates, Sam Michu (M&M Develop-ment), the Myers Brothers and Jim Nixon (Land Partners).

I believe that the Town’s attendance at this mind-boggling convention will help us sustain our economic vitality, promote controlled growth, and recruit high-quality retail development, not only at familiar locations, but in areas that over the long term will revitalize Kingston Pike from Concord to Lovell Road and help develop needed retail and convenience shopping in the west end near Watt Road.

With blisters on our feet and aching legs, we returned home late May 23.

Were we successful?

If you measure success in new, high-quality retail development, it’s clearly too early to tell.

If you measure it in terms of the good will and interest generated, it was beyond our expectations.


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