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Public Market developers scale down ‘Outlet’ makeover

Developers and architects have altered the rather sensational roofline for the proposed Farragut Public Market, which is set to be located in a renovated Outlet Mall.

Farragut’s Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved the changes at its Thursday, July 15, meeting with Mayor Ralph McGill and Commissioner Melissa Mustard absent.

The Public Market, which is slated to open in spring of 2011, is being developed by Charles Atchley Sr., who owns Great Smokies Flea Market. The Public Market — which is modeled after popular markets in other cities, such as Pike Place or Reading Terminal — will have about 600 indoor booth spaces, plus areas for outdoor sales, and be open only on weekends.

In meetings held over the past year, the Public Market received various exemptions from Town ordinances because of the uniqueness of the concept and of the building site off Outlet Drive. One item that garnered some debate in those discussions was the Market’s roofline, which included a 63-foot arch. The Outlet Mall building, as it stands now, is 13 feet tall.

“Ruth, you told me so,” Jim Nixon, Atchley’s representative (and also a principal with Turkey Creek Land Partners) told FMPC July 15.

“The earlier designs were too much, too tall. This is a lot better,” he added.

The new designs remove planned cupolas and gables, as well as a “false front” to the building and the 63-foot arch. The new plans add a flat canopy to the front of the building and reduce the size of the arch to 46 feet at its highest point.

“This is much cleaner and much more compatible than what we previously had,” Nixon said.

But planning commissioners didn’t seem to agree.

“With the exception of the arch, I liked the old design better,” Commissioner Ron Honken said.

Commissioner Cindy Hollyfield agreed: “It’s boring now.”

“It comes across almost like a warehouse,” Commissioner Ed St. Clair said.

FMPC members asked Nixon if he could keep the new smaller arch but add back in the cupolas and gables.

Nixon said probably not — the first design was done, he said, by engineers, not architects. And it was done before the Market developers had done a complete survey of the property. Now that they’d done that, it was clear the foundation of Outlet Mall couldn’t support cupolas and gables.

Plus, the more Spartan roofline was cheaper.

“This is less expensive, you’re correct … [but] the design for this will include several million dollars of improvements,” Nixon told Commissioners.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche said, while the design was not as attractive as it was before, there didn’t seem to be much choice “if the building isn’t stable enough.”

But Commissioner Ed Whiting didn’t agree.

“The flat shed roof looks awful. The original plan had some character to it,” he said.

“I admit that it’s aesthetics, but that’s important. … I think you’ve taken a negative turn,” he told Nixon, adding the new plan would make Whiting not want to shop there.

“We believe it’s going to be nice and we believe it’s going to work,” Nixon said.

Honken told Nixon there wasn’t really anything wrong with the new proposal — it was just significantly less “wow” than the first one.

“If I’d seen this one first, I would have said, ‘Wow. What an improvement’ with excitement,” Honken said.

“I can live with what you’ve proposed,” he added.

Nixon said renovations at Outlet Mall already had begun and that the entire interior had been gutted.

“What’s left?” Hollyfield asked.

“The walls. And a roof that needs to be replaced,” Nixon said.

Honken moved to accept the new planned roofline; LaMarche seconded. The motion was unanimously approved.


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