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Business Pulse - Retail development coming to lot on bypass
Bypass retail plans - cropped.jpg
Based on this blueprint submitted to the city of McMinnville, a retail development on the corner of Spring Street and the bypass will have fuel pumps, a 48,000-square-foot store and a 12,800-square-foot store.

Questions about what will happen with over 20 acres of prime real estate on the corner of the bypass and Spring Street are close to being answered.

Blueprints have been drawn and submitted to the city for a retail development that will include fuel pumps.

According to the blueprint, there will be a 48,000-square foot building on one side and a 12,800-square-foot building on the other. In between will be 296 parking spaces. Fuel pumps are planned for the side of the development closest to the bypass.

While plans have been made available, what’s not known is the stores that will be locating there. JKS Retail Development of Knoxville is overseeing the project and I had a chance to talk with company owner John K. Shirley on Thursday. It was a very brief conversation.

Mr. Shirley told me his client has demanded confidentiality and he can’t release any details at this point. He indicated he might be able to say more around Christmas, which can be a happy time of the year. But Mr. Shirley made it clear he is not revealing anything about possible tenants at this point.

Folks will long memories may remember when that property was overgrown with trees and vegetation. It was 12 years ago in August of 2007 when heavy machinery operators worked nearly around the clock, even working through Labor Day weekend, to clear and level the area.

It was believed, at least by me, the crews were working so diligently because a deal had been reached for the property and it needed to be ready in a jiffy. Either that deal fell through or the crew was trying to set a Guinness record for ground work because it’s been sitting as quiet as a tombstone ever since.

But this time is different because actual plans have been drawn and because Mr. Shirley has said he will not name his client, which means there is a client. Since he’s not talking, it leaves the door wide open for wild speculation and I’m a big fan of wild speculation.

The first thing to consider is what kind of retailer would need 48,000 square feet of space? That’s reserved for your big boys like Walmart, Home Depot and Target. Dollar General typically uses 9,000 square feet for its most popular store.

For me, the obvious purple elephant in the room is Kroger, which has long been rumored to want a new store in McMinnville. The only thing which throws a little wrench into that guess is Kroger likes around 60,000 square feet for its smaller stores and it’s building some mega Kroger stores much bigger than that.

But 48,000 would be considerably bigger than Kroger’s current location which has 33,000 square feet, according to property tax records. Kroger could grow by three giant steps with an extra 15,000 square feet and possibly even get separate doors for going in and out.

Fuel is also in the equation and Kroger is certainly in the business of selling gas. If you let your Kroger points accumulate, you can get your gas for cheap.

If I was a betting man, which I’m not, I’d put my chips on Kroger. That’s my wild speculation for the day.

Regions to build

Modern facility

The decision by Regions Bank to build a modern facility on The Strip and close its two current locations in town, as mentioned on today’s front page, has far-reaching impact.

It starts with the new location, which is set to be under construction before the end of the year. Regions says it expects the new branch to be open by the summer of 2020.

The building will include advanced technology, such as video banking, and it will also feature a more personalized approach to service. Instead of going to a teller or a loan officer, Regions says every employee will be able to handle every service you need.

When people walk into the branch, they will no longer need to wait in a traditional teller line and be called up to a counter. Instead, the new branch will offer an open design, where local bankers will greet people personally and usher them to service areas where employees will meet individual needs.

The new location will offer two Regions video banking ATMs, which expand personal service into non-traditional banking hours. Through the ATMs, customers are connected via live, two-way video to bankers who can help with services ranging from account questions, to receiving deposits of cash or checks, to issuing withdrawals or transferring funds.

Regions video bankers are available on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are also available on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and during most holidays. 

One video banking ATM will be in the branch’s drive-thru, while the other will be a walk-up machine at the branch’s entrance.

The branch is also expected to offer two DepositSmart ATMs in the drive-thru. DepositSmart ATMs can cash checks and receive deposits from customers at any time, day or night.

Regions paid $875,000 for the property on The Strip which is located just down from Waffle House at the site of the old Cowan Oldham Theater. The two current Regions Bank locations will remain open until the new facility is ready.

When the move takes place, it will certainly seem very odd not to have a bank at the current Regions spot on Court Square. It seems there’s been a bank there since the beginning of time.

McMinnville city offices appear poised to take over the spot so the building will not be vacant. 

If appraised property values are any indication, the city did well in purchasing the three-story building at 101 E. Main Street for $675,000. Tax records now show the property worth $1.45 million.

The Regions Bank location at Plaza Shopping Center probably won’t find a new tenant so easily. It could sit and sit and sit.

Harbor Freight

Delayed slightly

When I first announced the news that Harbor Freight would be opening a store in McMinnville at the old Fred’s location, the projected opening day was mid-October.

The opening date has been pushed back ever so slightly with Harbor Freight officials now estimating it will be early November before the store opens.

Other than a minimal delay, everything remains on track for Harbor Freight to open a store at 912 N. Chancery Street. It will be the company’s 29th story in Tennessee. Harbor Freight bills itself as a company which offers quality tools at an unbeatable price.

Spec building

Bids received

The Industrial Development Board has been working for years on plans to construct a fourth spec building at Mt. View Industrial Park in Morrison. Those plans soared closer to becoming a reality on Tuesday when bids were opened for what will be a 50,000-square-foot building with 42-foot ceilings.

There were six contractors who submitted bids.

“We’re taking the numbers and we’re evaluating the whole picture to see which bid will be best,” said Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander.

Don said some of the lower priced bids may not include the same scope of work as some of the higher bids so officials are carefully examining what was submitted so there are no surprises when work gets underway. Don said he is hopeful one of the six bids will be accepted this week.

As for actual construction, Don said he believes work will be able to get started in October. The bid contract calls for completion in 180 days.

That’s all folks

Now that the fair is finding its way to another town, we can really concentrate on what’s important in life – business news. Send tips to