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Outlet Mall proposed redo touted as ‘high end’

“High end” seems to be the buzzword for entrepreneur Charles Atchley Sr.’s proposed public market in the former Outlet Mall off Outlet Drive.

“It’s really a high end market. I do own a flea market. I am on the board of directors of the Tennessee Flea Market Association. … This is different from a flea market, though,” Atchley, who started the Great Smokies Flea Market in Kodak, said.

“It has the antiques and collectibles like a flea market does, but it has a higher end name-brand merchandise, and … a bakery … a lot of high end produce … even looking to have a meat and fish market in there,” he added.

Atchley related the concept to a “high end supermarket and clothing store.”

Atchley said the market’s vendors could include basically anything.

“You would have the garage sale [vendors], you would have collectibles, you would have antique dealers, you would have retail dealers, anything from a beauty shop … groceries, anything you can imagine would be sold at that market from time to time,” he said.

“For some of those vendors, you never know what they’ll have week-to-week,” he added.

The public market would include about 600 booth spaces.

Atchley said vendors would be required to have a Knox County business license — Farragut doesn’t require or offer a Town business license — and would be required to pay sales tax, which is the Town’s main revenue source.

Businesses would be independently responsible for keeping track of their sales tax, which could prove difficult in sales driven largely by cash.

“Everyone in this company would be responsible for collecting and paying sales tax,” Atchley said.

But, he added, some items sold might be exempt from sales tax.

“For example, if you wanted to clean out your garage, and you’ve already paid sales tax on those items and you want to sell them, you wouldn’t be responsible for paying sales tax or collecting sales tax again because you’ve already paid it.

“But if you purchase something to resell, you’re responsible for collecting sales tax and turning that into the state of Tennessee on those items,” he said.

The public market would not provide oversight on any sales tax collections, Atchley said, no more than a mall would for its various stores.

“I’m a mall operator. I rent real estate. … We don’t keep up with their sales. They are a business. We don’t audit their business, just like a mall would not audit Wal-Mart’s or Sears’ business,” Atchley said.

“We want only the best tenants, so if we find the tenant is not good for the company, we will not continue to rent to them,” he added.

Atchley said he would not receive any percentage of proceeds from sales; that money would all go to the business owners, who would pay rent for their booths.

Booths at the market would be rented by the week, and any vendor could vacate his spot with only two weeks’ notice.

Atchley, with broker Jim Nixon and consultant Bill Johns, is trying to fast track the public market into Farragut.

Town staff has identified more than 50 issues with the market’s site plan that must be brought into compliance with Town codes.

Atchley said one of the major code problems he has is with Farragut’s prohibition on outdoor sales.

“Outside sales is so the trucks can bring their produce in and sell it out of the back of the truck and not have to unload it,” Atchley said.

“The inside could work OK, but it wouldn’t work as well,” he added.

Another compliance issue is the green space and parking requirements.

“I want to leave the [building] footprint as it is, and try to meet as many of the codes as possible, but trying to meet the green space and keep the same amount of parking space, with the new codes, is almost impossible.

“But I think we can meet probably 95 or 96 percent of all the ordinances,” Atchley said.

Atchley said he hoped the public market would help the perception of Outlet Drive, which is commonly known as a high crime area.

“It used to be a real nice place, many years ago,” Atchley said.

“I think, if I’m allowed to build there and have outside sales, it would draw a lot of people. … I know it would help the other people in sales tax revenue.

“I think it would clean up the whole area,” he added.

Atchley said the public market, if developed, likely would be open only on weekends.


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