letter to the editor

Reader pro-Town Center, with apartments

I read Mike Mitchell’s letter opposing the new development planned for the old Kroger site in Farragut and felt obligated to respond.

I’ve been in real estate and around development most of my working life. I believe this is an excellent proposal.

First off, Farragut is not an easy place to develop. We have more restrictive rules because we want to be more cautious about what gets built. Good for us. This plan meets all those tougher requirements. So legally, it’s a no brainer.

Mr. Mitchell suggested the retail and restaurant component planned for the site of the long-vacant old Kroger store won’t work … that people like going to Turkey Creek or Northshore Town Center. Personally, I’d rather go someplace closer and I think lots of other people would, too.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the developers are investing millions and millions of their own dollars based both on years of experience in developing and in the belief that it will be successful. That’s kind of the way the system works here in America.

If entrepreneurs want to take a risk and invest, and they meet all the rules, then let’s back them and hope it succeeds.

I can say with complete confidence that what they will build will be a far bigger asset to our community than a vacant building.

Behind the new shopping area, the developers plan to build high-end, Class A apartments. That’s something Farragut needs. According to the American Planning Association in the last five years the portion of apartments as part of all new housing being built has doubled, from 20 percent to 40 percent, One factor is that the cost of buying a home has gotten so high that many people simply can’t afford it.

And the APA says one of the biggest segments of the population moving into apartments are older people. Quoting from the report: “These are persons whose families are raised, who are tired of keeping up a large house and yard, yet who want to stay in the same suburban area with their friends, their children and grandchildren.”

In other words, many of the people in these apartments are likely to be people who are already living in Farragut. And new, younger people are likely to move into the homes they give up. It’s good for the community all the way around.

Count me in favor of this proposal. I urge our Mayor and Aldermen, planners and the community at large to support it as well.

John Griess, Farragut