Plug pulled on Horne-Ford AGORA Town Center plan

Following several contentious Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meetings, Horne Properties owner Doug Horne has withdrawn his proposal for AGORA (Greek for “gathering place”), a planned Mixed-Use Town Center on former Farragut Mayor Eddy Ford’s 68.31-acre property along Kingston Pike, which is less than a half mile from the Pike’s intersection with Campbell Station Road.

Horne, a long-time developer and businessman who also owns Republic Newspapers, Inc. (parent company of farragutpress), made the announcement late last week following more than six months of interaction with Town officials and staff on the application process.

Most recently, the FMPC denied Horne’s rezoning request for the 68.31-acre property April 15, noting a prerequisite traffic study had not been completed.

At that time, Horne indicated he would bring the project back for further consideration — but has decided to walk away from the planned development he described as offering “restaurant outlots, medical, office and retail buildings and 101 high-end condo lots, along with 200 upscale multi-family units inside the condo lots.

“You will notice the high-end condos surround the upscale apartments,” Horne said of the AGORA plat. “Also, this plan extended Jamestowne Boulevard through the property and shows a possible future connection to South Campbell Station Road.”

Horne had a vested interest in the project and property, having developed Kohl’s shopping center and its surrounding neighborhood, Glenn Abbey, along with building lots coming off Kingston Pike, including Farragut Post Office. Horne Properties also developed the land for Town Hall.

“So the Farragut Town Center should naturally be beside the Town Hall and Post Office,” Horne said.

Ford’s property has been on the market for some time, and more than a dozen years ago had been eyed as Farragut’s Town Center location until the 2008 housing and market depression derailed those plans.

“We believed (Ford’s property) was the best location for the Mixed-Use Town Center with the most amenities for the Farragut community,” Horne said. “What occurred to stop us was the Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting and decision in October 2020 to change the Land Use Plan that had been in effect since 2012 that (would allow) multi-family units in a Mixed-Use Town Center proposal.

“The actual language change to the Land Use Plan was ‘a Mixed-Use Town Center development plan, which includes high-density residential is intended to be located only in the area bound by South Campbell Station Road, Concord Road and Kingston Pike.”  

As a result, “only one property — the Biddle property — qualified for multi-family in a Mixed-Use Town Center proposal,” Horne said. “This was a strike at downgrading the value of the Ford property for development and was rescinding and reneging on the Land Use Plan in effect since 2012.  

He referred to a “text change” in the October 2020 Land Use Plan, adding it was “a move by the Board of Mayor and Alderman to reward the Town Center location to one property without fair consideration to the Ford property.”

Horne said he still plans to pursue the senior apartment project just north of Ingles.