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City Commission begins process to host 29-acre retail development

July 17th, 2013 9:33 pm by Gary B. Gray

City Commission begins process to host 29-acre retail development

GBT has dubbed the massive undertaking Franklin Commons, a “neighborhood center.” Preliminary plans show two phases of construction. The first includes four individual retail sites in a shopping center and a grocery store. The second is a massive area tha


Brentwood’s GBT Realty Corp. has proposed a new retail development that would sit on a roughly 29-acre parcel off North State of Franklin Road — a plan the City Commission will review publicly for the first time Thursday.


GBT has dubbed the massive undertaking Franklin Commons, a “neighborhood center.” Preliminary plans show two phases of construction. The first includes four outparcels (individual retail sites in a shopping center) and a grocery store. The second is a massive area that would be used for retail, as well as for four outparcels fronted by North State of Franklin. Drawings show a 425-space parking lot in the center of these structures. 


Commissioners will begin by considering an ordinance to rezone property located at 920 N. State of Franklin Road from MS-1 (Medical Services) to B-4 (Planned Arterial Business). Mountain States Health Alliance owns the land, having swapped property with Wellmont Health System, which acquired the land in 2000 for a new $65 million hospital that was being considered for that site.


GBT has done their home work. A four-page fact sheet reveals average income within certain distances from the site, number of households and population counts. It also mentions the positive impact of East Tennessee State University and the Med-Tech corridor, recreational opportunities and other attractions.


“They have held workshops, including one with the Hunters Lake Community Association (the subdivision is positioned near the proposed development), and I was there,” said Commissioner Jenny Brock. “I was quite impressed with the company’s representative, who came back to the planning commission later with revisions to the plan. 


Urs Gsteiger, a Hunters Lake resident, wrote city commissioners early this month asking that they vote against the request, saying he and his wife would be directly affected by the rezoning.


Gsteiger told commissioners the rezoning and development would have a negative effect on Hunters Lake. Specifically, increased noise, light “pollution,” existing water and drainage and potentially hazardous traffic situations on Sunset Drive.


If the concept plan is approved, the city would allow right turn access and egress off North State of Franklin Road — the same approach taken in the Fresh Market design. But that would place the road off Sunset Drive about 500 feet away from its intersection with North State of Franklin, an intersection with six lanes.   


Public Works Department Director Phil Pindzola said the city is in discussions with the developer about creating an access point at Skyline Drive. He also said talks are ongoing regarding the need for significant water detention construction to help contain runoff.


“Now, can they do everything they’ve requested? I don’t know about that, because there are varied interests out there,” Brock added. “They appear to be a very reputable company, but this will have to be fine tuned.”    


GBT is a commercial development and net lease company located just outside of Nashville which has over 300 developments throughout the country. The corporation has been involved with the development, construction, leasing and management of over 20 million square feet of retail development, including grocery-anchored shopping centers, neighborhood centers, single tenant buildings and regional power centers.


Its tenants include Publix, Harris Teeter, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Best Buy, Dollar General, Ross, Kohl’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshalls, PetSmart, and Old Navy, to name a few.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Wellmont still owned the property.

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