BRISTOL, Va. – City officials announced today that three restaurants and a travel center will join the anchor store, Cabela’s, at The Falls Development at Exit 5 off Interstate 81.
In a joint meeting between the City Council and the Industrial Development Authority, purchase agreements and contracts were executed today with Calhoun’s, Smoky Mountain Brewery, Zaxby’s and Sheetz.
City Manager Dewey Cashwell said the tenants completes recruitment efforts for Phase I of the development that totals 237,300 square feet, with estimated retail sales approaching $100 million annually. Cashwell added that negotiations are near complete with an additional fifth tenant, and that announcement would be forthcoming.
“With the tenants in place for Phase I, we have have already achieved many firsts with this project,” he said in a news release. “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."
Cashwell said interest in The Falls has been high, putting the city in the enviable position of having many emerging and established businesses to choose from.
“We are fortunate in that there has been a tremendous amount of interest in our project from potential tenants, with established businesses contacting us through a myriad of information channels. Essentially, this allowed us to hand pick the premier businesses to set up shop at The Falls. What we have announced today is truly the best of the best with more to come,” he said.
Assistant City Manger Andrew Trivette said preliminary site work has begun on the property, including prepping, grading and the relocation of a cell tower that currently exists on the site. Trivette said short periods of blasting will be included in the site preparations at times.
With a total project cost of more than $200 million, development of The Falls property will occur in structured phases. When complete, it will house 1.47 million square feet of retail space and garner an estimated $500 million in annual sales.
The newly announced tenants:
• Calhoun’s: The original Calhoun’s BBQ Barn opened in October of 1983 on Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Calhoun’s has nine locations spread between East and Middle Tennessee, including Knoxville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Nashville.
• Smoky Mountain Brewery: Smoky Mountain Brewery features an outdoor patio and live entertainment nightly. 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 Smoky Mountain Brewery location.
• Zaxby’s: Zaxby’s offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, salas and appetizers. Childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley hatched the Athens, Ga.-based chain in 1990 to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere that would keep guests coming back for more. The company operates more than 570 locations in 13 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
• Sheetz: Founded in 1952 by Bob Sheetz, Sheetz Inc. offers fuel and food. With more than 400 locations across six states — Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina — Sheetz employs more than 13,600.