Industries Commercial Real Estate

Developer plans a $250 million regional shopping center in Appalachia that would serve three states

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Print this page By Paula C. Squires

Taylor Properties plans to build a 1 million-square-foot, $250 million regional shopping center in Northeast Tennessee that would serve a region from the states of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. Stewart Taylor, a general partner with Taylor Properties LP 1 and 11 in Kingsport, Tenn., said the company has closed on property for the project, which is located on both sides of the Interstate 81/I26 interchange.

“I’ve long envisioned a regional shopping center planned and positioned to attract retailers that most Tri-City residents currently cannot access without hours of drive time,” said Taylor, who began assembling the tract more than ten years ago. “It has taken that long to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and timing is now right to move forward,” he said.

In its first phase, Heritage Point Towne Center would be built on about 250 acres on the Tennessee side of the site.  Plans include a major wholesale club, an outdoor outfitter, multi-screen movie theatre, restaurants and retail shops.  “We have letters of intent from several people,” Taylor said, declining to name any prospective tenants. “We want to bring what’s not in our community, here.” 

According to him, the Tri-Cities region offers a demographic of just over 1 million people. Plus, the development expects to draw travelers from I-81, one of the busiest corridors in the southeast.

Taylor Properties owns about 75 acres on the other side of the interstate that it plans to develop later.  At full buildout — which could take 5 to 10 years — Taylor said the regional project could create as many as 5,000 jobs. “This isn’t something that will instantly happen,” he said. “We’ve got 750,000 cubic yards of rock that has to be moved.” Taylor doesn’t’ expect any buildings to be up for two to three years.

While the land is zoned for retail, Taylor said it could take as long as eight months before the state of Tennessee signs off on drawing and grading plans.  “There are some wetlands issues,” he said.

In the meantime, Taylor Properties plans to begin grading some of the property, and it’s seeking bids for a new road and bridge leading into the site. Asked about financing, Taylor said his company is ready to go forward. 

In recent years, Taylor has been a force in other commercial projects in the Tri-Cities. His company recently opened a Bonefish restaurant in Johnston City in a retail area where he also recruited a Fresh Market grocery store.  “Down here we’re more rural,” he noted, “and we don’t have Fresh Markets and some things considered a quality-of -life issue that would be nice for our region.”

Taylor also is the owner of Taylor Brands, which holds a license to manufacturer Smith & Wesson knives worldwide.


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