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At long last
Costco’s plans to build in Farragut end long-held rumors and expectations

It’s no secret that Knoxville-area residents have been prodding Costco executives to locate in the area for years.

There was a petition and even a billboard urging locals to write, call and e-mail Costco, asking the company to build one of its warehouse groceries here.

And now it is.

But Roger Campbell, Costco’s senior vice president of operations for the Southeast, said he’d been looking before the grassroots campaign: “I’ve been looking there for 10 years to get the right site.”

“We didn’t take this decision lightly ... we just needed to get the right place. And to me, the right place was always somewhere near Turkey Creek, which gives us separation from competition and also gives us the best shopping area out in the Knoxville area,” Campbell said.

“We’re excited about coming there. We’ve wanted to come there for a long time,” he added.

And the site is nearly perfect in terms of the sheer volume of potential customers that travel and live nearby.

The site, at the corner of Kingston Pike and Lovell Road, is less than a mile from Parkside Drive and about a minute away from Interstate 40/75. Plans for the site include two signalized entrances, one each on Lovell and the Pike, both main thoroughfares through the Town.

“I think that should be an excellent location,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the company should begin grading — expected to be a monumental task on the site — in late summer or early fall.

Grading might take a while, but Campbell said once the building footers go in, the company usually gets a store completed and open in 120 days.

The store will come in at just more than 142,000 square feet.

Town administrator David Smoak said in an Economic Development Committee meeting Wednesday, June 8, that he had experienced positive discussions with Costco representatives, and Campbell echoed that sentiment.

“I’ve not heard anything from our people who do the due diligence of anything negative yet,” he said.

“Seemingly, very much so, they’re wanting to work with us,” he added.

Smoak said there were few issues with Costco’s site plan, including non-compliance with open space requirements and a few drainage issues.

Smoak also said he’d asked Costco officials if they’d be willing to include brick in the construction of the building to blend in better with surrounding businesses, adding Costco had seemed amenable to that.

Campbell said, “At Costco, we build a nice building. Everything is done right anyway because that is how we operate.

“Whenever there is a landscape requirement, one of the things we have as our own company inner policy is that we always exceed the landscape requirement by a certain ‘x’ percent.

“We want to do more than just what’s right. We want to be part of the community, not just get in there and run away with some money,” he added.

Campbell said the company was going to be buying the property it’ll locate on, which is owned by the Schaad family of companies.

“You’re not going to get rid of us easily,” Campbell joked.

The site plan for Costco also includes two outparcels; there has been no indication yet as to what might locate in those spaces.

Costco is scheduled to be on the July Farragut Municipal Planning Commission agenda.


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