Recalling steps toward Town Center

With the recent demolition of the old Kroger building, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s (BOMA) commitment to a vibrant town center is beginning to materialize for Farragut residents.

Our commitment started as a dream of previous BOMA and Municipal Planning Commissions. In the early 2000s, then Town leadership explored different combinations (or “mixes”) of downtown property “uses” such as commercial, residential, green space and civic.

Their dream solidified into commitment as Farragut residents regularly affirmed support for a walkable Mixed-Use town center in: 2007 through public comment on a town center ordinance, 2012 through extensive public input during the update to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), 2015 through public comment during the Town’s branding campaign, and in 2017 through feedback on community surveys.

Early on, multiple developers pursued one type of mixed use called “vertical” mixed use, which has residential property above commercial property in the same building. Unfortunately, each pursuit ended by the same means — no bank financing. Banks finance development projects that are demanded by the market, and these developers found banks would not fund vertical mixed-use development in suburban settings like Farragut because there was no market demand for it.

Contrary to recent misinformation on social media, the CLUP language does not restrict town center mixed use to only vertical design. While the CLUP does contain pictures of vertical mixed use examples, these representations do not communicate restriction or intent. Language in the plan does that by outlining a town center with a sense of place that emanates from a pedestrian-friendly orientation.

Because CLUP language is flexible on types of mixed-use designs, the developer of our new Town Center received support and backing for a “horizontal” mixed use design that features:

• 13 acres of open green space with pedestrian facilities along Turkey Creek; 62,000 square feet of pedestrian-friendly retail space; a town green that expands to the size of a football field when its streets and sidewalks are closed for festivals; and 286 apartments (not 1,000 or 1,200 as falsely advertised on flyers that were handed to parents in school pick-up lines last year) with Federal architecture that matches the Campbell Station Inn.

So save the date of Summer 2023 because I cordially invite Farragut residents to enjoy a sunset and their favorite adult beverage from a bistro table, engage with nature on a stroll along Turkey Creek, rejuvenate in the harmonies of a summer concert on the town green, and hunt for unique treasures in boutique shops, all within walking or biking distance of many Farragut subdivisions.