Bristol’s talked-about shopping centers, The Falls and The Pinnacle, will have some serious competition from Kingsport’s planned development at the I-81 /I-26 interchange. According to a Monday, May 12, article on the Times-News.net, the development, formerly called Heritage Point Towne Center, has been renamed Tri-Cities Crossing due to its central location to so many different population areas in our region. The site is being developed by Stewart Taylor who has almost completed the $6 million grading work necessary to get started.
The main 55-acre site is almost ready, and there is a seven-acre adjoining site completely graded and connected to utilities. The planned retail space will provide one million square feet of shopping and dining options. Taylor has chosen Thalhimer, a commercial real estate firm from Virginia, to recruit businesses for the Tri-Cities Crossings.
On the website, Heritage Kingsport.com, plans for the then-named Heritage Towne Center were described. Maps of the plans were provided, also. There was an indication that the developers were anticipating an outdoor store like Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas, which later located at The Pinacle and The Falls, respectively.
Folks from throughout the region will flock to a regional shopping center that includes an outdoor outfitter, wholesale club along with theatres and restaurants.
The same site explains an almost theme-park atmosphere that was planned with 50% green areas and lots of rustic detail that feels like a frontier trading post. It sounds very similar to shopping venues in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. There is no indication in the later reports whether these plans will continue to be implemented.
The website also predicted a larger retail space than the one million square feet that was cited in the Times-News article today. This information was looking forward to 1.4 million square feet, which would place Tri-Cities Crossings in Kingsport on an equal footing with Phase One of The Pinnacle in Bristol, Tenn. The Falls, which will be located in Bristol, Va., is expected to have approximately one million square feet of retail space.
An interesting claim is found on the Heritage Kingsport website regarding customer base for the proposed development. The developer suggests that approximately 60% of the United States population could arrive at Tri-Cities Crossings within a one-day drive. While that may be quite optimistic, one thing can be said with certainty: within a thirty-minute time frame, a traveler on I-81 will pass three very large shopping centers, all with over a million square feet of retail space. (This does not even take the Exit 7 shopping areas into consideration.) Despite factoring Interstate travelers into the equation, most Tri-Cities residents are doubtful that even the two Bristol shopping centers will draw the customers needed to stay open.