Town biz vacancies

Roughly 80 percent occupancy ‘a positive thing:’ Povlin, Hobbs

Discussing the status of vacant business space in the Town of Farragut turned into “a positive thing,” as characterized by a pair of key Town officials last week.

Farragut Vice Mayor Louise Povlin advised her fellow members of Shop Farragut/Farragut Business Alliance she wanted to turn talk about empty business spaces in Town “into a positive thing.

“We have no more old Phillips 66 … we have no more old Kroger; Ingles has been rehabbed, and all the old, ugly buildings that were decaying and decrepit are gone,” she said during the Alliance’s most recent monthly meeting, Wednesday, June 8, in the Town Hall Community Room. “So we have much to celebrate.

“And we have much to grow into.”

“Actually, not that much to grow into,” said Trevor Hobbs, assistant to the Town administrator. “There was this, I guess, feeling or perspective in the community that we have rampant vacancies throughout the Town. And that’s just not the case.

“We have some vacancy in our shopping centers, but as of last summer we did an audit and we estimated about 80 percent occupancy,” he added. “We’re talking 20, 30 spaces that are available. Some of those are not in our shopping centers; some of those are internal to office buildings.

“And then we did it again this spring: it was increased — occupancy had increased significantly. There’s not a ton of vacancy out there, so we are moving in a good direction.”

Moreover, Hobbs reminded the Board that although occupancy “is not a hundred percent,” that “also was good because it allows us to recruit businesses. If someone comes to me and says, ‘Hey, I want to come to Farragut,’ I actually have some things (where) I can say, ‘Hey, look at these options.’”

Povlin then asked Board member Jim Nixon, a Turkey Creek/Farragut Land Partner who is an expert in tenant/business relationships, “What is a good goal, generally speaking, where you are not nervous about” vacant spaces.

Nixon responded, “75, 80 percent is probably OK.”