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Three restaurants among new tenants coming to The Falls

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Bristol, Va., city officials said Thursday that three restaurants and a Sheetz will join anchor Cabela’s at The Falls Development, a 140-acre, regional shopping center that’s going up off exit 5 of Interstate 81.

In a joint meeting between the City Council and the Industrial Development Authority, purchase agreements and contracts were executed Thursday with Calhoun’s, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Zaxby’s and Sheetz.

City Manager Dewey Cashwell said the agreements complete recruitment efforts for Phase I of the development, which totals 237,300 square feet.

When totally complete, the shopping center is projected to have more than 1.4 million square feet of retail space. Bristol expects development costs for the city project to total more than $200 million. The center, in turn, is expected to generate more than $500 million in annual sales. During the first phase, that figure is expected to be more than $100 million.

Cashwell added that negotiations are nearly complete with a fifth tenant.

“With the tenants in place for Phase I, we have already achieved many firsts with this project,” he said in a statement. “Bristol will be the first location in the commonwealth not only for Cabela’s, but for regional superstars Calhoun’s and Smoky Mountain Brewery. Anyone who has traveled to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge knows what a huge draw these restaurants are. The dining experience they offer, along with events and live music, will further solidify The Falls’ draw as a true retail tourism destination.”

Preliminary site work has begun on the property, including grading and the relocation of a cell tower. Crews are working to get infrastructure in place before an official groundbreaking that will be held in June.

The city’s announcement comes a day after another regional shopping center, The Pinnacle — located five miles away down Interstate 81 in Bristol, Tenn.— said it landed a new 132,000-square-foot Belk store. The existing Belk store at Bristol Mall in Bristol, Va., plans to relocate to the 250-acre, mixed-use center, which is under construction at the intersection of Interstate 81 and Highway 11 West.

The anchor tenant there is Bass Pro Shops, another outdoor retailer. Steve Johnson, a local resident who heads Johnson Commercial Development, is the developer.

Officials from both Bristols say the projects should complement one another.

New tenants at Phase I of The Falls: 

Cabela’s Inc., headquartered in Sidney, Neb., is the world’s largest direct marketer and a specialty retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise.

Calhoun’s opened its first barbeque barn in October 1983 in Knoxville and now has eight other locations spread between East and Middle Tennessee, including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Nashville.

Smoky Mountain Brewery features an outdoor patio and live entertainment nightly.  Its signature feature of twin working grain silos make the restaurant easy to locate. Smoky Mountain Brewery is one of the largest working micro breweries in East Tennessee. Current locations include Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Maryville. The 10,000-square-foot brewery at The Falls will be the largest of any other location.

Zaxby’s offers chicken wings, sandwiches and salads, along with a variety of sauces.  The company ranked No. 7 in the 2012 Top 10 Excellent Large Fast-Food Chains With 500 Or More U.S. Units Quick-Track study published by Sandelman & Associates. It operates more than 570 locations in 13 states.

Sheetz, which provides food and fuel, has more than 400 locations across six states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina .

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