Knox County officials were all smiles Monday as developers broke ground on a new, $45 million, multi-acre retail development on Schaad Road at Oak Ridge Highway. Grassy Creek will be anchored by a 52,000-square-feet Food City store.
Steve Maddox, president of Maddox Companies, spoke for himself and investor Joe Hollingsworth in commending Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Knox County Commission for supporting the project with a $2.5 million, 15-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package. The developers are contributing $1.5 million toward the needed public improvements which include road work, traffic lights and utility extension in the public right-of-way.
Maddox said the retail center “would not have happened” without the TIF.
Developers will prepare sites ranging from one to 10 acres or will build-to-suit. Anchors and junior anchors will range from 50,000 to 10,000 square feet with shop spaces ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 square feet available for lease.
Steven C. Smith, Food City president and CEO, said his new store will employ 150. “It will be a store all people can be proud of.” He said construction will start in the spring with a fall opening. Smith had several top executives with him. They were heading for Sevier County afterwards to break ground for another new store – this one on Teaster Lane in Pigeon Forge. On Wednesday, they will open a new Food City in Maryville.
Food City operates 130 stores, Smith said. The company is a family business with employees owning 12-13 percent of the stock.
Mayor Jacobs said the development will serve a need in a fast-growing section of Knox County. “This area needs more retail and more restaurants.” He thanked Commissioner Brad Anders for his support.
In addition to Anders, commissioners present included Hugh Nystrom, Michele Carringer, Carson Dailey, Larsen Jay and Randy Smith. City Council member Seema Singh, County Clerk Sherry Witt and Register of Deeds Nick McBride also attended.