letter to the editor

Mayor Williams’ part 1 letter on development: private sector

(Part one of a two-part special Letter to the Editor from Farragut Mayor Ron Williams)

Six months into my term as mayor, I’d like to point out recent positive developments in the Town. It’s encouraging to consider the progress we’ve made, and I hope it will help residents better understand the Town’s vision for smart growth.

There are two areas where Farragut is experiencing significant development — public and private. For the sake of space, I’m going to address these individually. This week, I’ll focus on private projects.

Sitel recently opened a call center in the former Outlet Mall on Outlet Drive. This represents 600 jobs now and even more when the company fills up half of this 162,000-square-foot building. Farragut elected officials are encouraging the State of Tennessee to consider the other half of the building for educational purposes, like a new vocational concept aimed at kids who want to learn a hands-on trade. Vocational education is my passion because it gives young people the opportunity to start careers far above the minimum wage income level. 

The Outlet Drive area has been dormant for years and it’s time to pump life into the north side of the Interstate. Our Comprehensive Land Use Steering Committee has focused on this corridor for the past few months in an effort to grow this area. It’s important for Farragut residents to understand that the majority of our budget comes from sales tax collected in our 16-square-mile Town of 23,000 since our property tax goes to Knox County. We do everything in our power to attract sustainable business models that produce sales tax.

One of the Town’s recent priorities has been to repurpose or demolish long-time vacant buildings. Over the past year, the former Silver Spoon made way for the Farragut Gateway project, the burned-out barn has been torn down and the collapsed mill behind Century 21 Legacy on Kingston Pike has been removed. Ingles has submitted plans to renovate its former shopping complex, which should bring in 13 to 15 new sales tax-producing businesses.

The former BP station on Campbell Station Road has been replaced with a new tire store; the former Phillips 66 station at the corner of Kingston Pike and Campbell Station has been sold and planning is under way for redevelopment; the former Elliot’s Boots building was demolished and replaced by a new Dunkin Donuts, Elliott’s Boots and AFC Urgent Care; the former U.S. Golf on North Campbell Station has been demolished and will soon be replaced by a three-story, 75 percent masonry storage warehouse.

We will also have a new multi-unit apartment complex on North Campbell Station, along with six new subdivisions that will have sidewalks and walking trails. A dentist office is being built across from Ingles on long-time vacant property, and construction on a new building on the west end of the Renaissance campus will begin soon.

The former Court Café will be demolished and replaced with retail and apartments, and the old Swan farm will be developed as another mixed-use property. Finally, the 40-year lease on the former Kroger property expires in June, and Town staff and elected officials would like to see it become a mixed-use town center.

There are other properties that are ripe for development or redevelopment, but isn’t it encouraging to consider the progress we’ve made?

Next week, read about current and upcoming public sector projects. I think you’ll be amazed at what Farragut staff and elected officials are accomplishing.