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Downtown gets off the ground

Farragut’s proposed downtown is getting a little closer to becoming reality.

The Downtown at Farragut project is being overseen by Southern Home Development, Inc. The site, owned by Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III, consists of 68 acres off Kingston Pike, situated between Kohl’s and Farragut Town Hall.

Michael Bates, president of Southern Home Development, said that one of his first objectives “was to create a true downtown setting, a sense of place and identity with a nostalgic main street feel.”

One of the most important components of this objective is pedestrian friendliness. The project’s design calls for parking at the rear of the groups of buildings, called blocks. Sidewalks will be twenty feet wide with access between and around each block. The development also includes a town lake and a town square that will be used for festivals or open-air markets. The downtown development will include commercial, retail and professional offices, restaurants and residential spaces. The spaces are available for sale or lease.

“We’ll have a two acre pond, walking trails around the entire development, pedestrian and bicycle access. You’ve got every possible convenience so you really don’t have to leave,” said Jimmy Morgan, sales manager.

The development will connect with Municipal Center Drive and Town Hall and the post office. “This is by far the largest project we’ve done, and we’ve developed several big, big Southern developments,” Morgan added. “We’ve gone to over thirty downtowns and new town centers to try to gather the information from what we liked about those developments and put them into a unique one.” These included Charleston, S.C.’s famous downtown and Atlanta, Ga.’s newly developed Atlantic Station.

The project also will be developed using “green” building techniques. “It’s mainly trying to find a way to be more energy efficient and less detrimental to the environment,” said Amber Clay, a Gables and Gates realtor. “It’s also things like using the most energy efficient equipment, insulation and appliances.”

“And using building product materials that sustain over time, like brick or cement type siding,” added Morgan.

“It’s about building things that are going to last for a longer period of time,” Clay said.

Having green rooftops and a lot of outdoor landscaping and outdoor space and offering entire pads, or all the floors in a building, to renters or owners are other ways of going green.

“One example of it would be if a restaurant wanted a whole site pad, they could have a four-story restaurant and outdoor seating on the roof,” Morgan said.

The project will be completed in multiple stages, working from Kingston Pike back into the property. The downtown area is divided into two development stages, followed by the residential homes that will be built behind downtown.

“It’s a full downtown and the way we designed the project was so it would evolve over a period of years with us starting the first town block ourselves,” Bates said.

The blocks will not all be developed by Southern Home Development. Other designers or architects can buy blocks to design on their own. “We have a number of developers and investors that are interested in being involved, in buying some of the town blocks and building some of those buildings and we’re trying to work that out,” Bates said.

“We never intended [to design all the buildings]. We’re basically developing the property,” he added. “There were always going to be other parties involved.”

Southern Home Development, Inc. has not closed on the purchase of the land with Mayor Ford. “We’re trying to finalize our engineering now and I suspect that we would finish foreclosing within about two months,” Bates said. “We’re working on a number of different deals on that property with a number of different people,” he added.

For more information, call Southern Home Development, Inc. at 865-966-0091 or visit


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