K-VA-T purchasing 16.5 acres of property at State of Franklin, Sunset from Mountain States
By Jeff Keeling
October 6 (4:24 p.m.) It has taken longer than expected, but Food City’s parent company hopes to break ground on a new supermarket off of State of Franklin Road and Sunset Drive by early November and open next spring, CEO Steve Smith said Monday.
“We’re going to build a 62,000-square-foot store supermarket there and have room for about four or five out parcels along State of Franklin,” Smith said. “Our real estate folks are are actively talking to people as we speak, and I know they have some very strong leads on folks who are interested in coming in and being part of the development.”
The news comes several months after a previous deal collapsed between Mountain States and Nashville-based GBT Realty that would have left Food City as a tenant of GBT. That development would have taken the entire 29 acres owned by Mountain States, but the hospital system will retain the additional acreage in this case.
“They’ve been very good to work with us, and I think it’s going to be a good deal for both parties,” Smith said.
K-VA-T will build on the land closest to Sunset Drive, with Mountain States retaining the southern portion of land, some of which fronts on State of Franklin.
The new store will replace one roughly half its size on West State of Franklin Road, Smith said. It should employ at least twice as many people, and represents part of more than $20 million K-VA-T is investing currently in Washington County. Smith said the Food City stores on South Roan Street and in Gray both are undergoing expansions of around 12,000 square feet each.
He said though not much time is left on the West Market store’s lease, Food City’s property managers will attempt to sub-lease it. “There’s people out there looking for supermarkets to take up as secondary usage, and our real estate people are actively out looking.”
As for the new store, it will reflect the changing tastes of supermarket consumers, Smith said, and the pending change in state law regarding wine in grocery stores. A “growler station” should be in the mix, he said.
“We can have all kinds of craft beers and locally brewed beers, and be able to fill growlers for people to take home with them,” Smith said, adding that the space also may host a wine sampling station once that becomes allowable.
“We’ve also got our wine department already designed in the store,” Smith added, noting that while wine won’t be able to be sold in supermarkets by the projected opening, “it won’t be long after that.”
A sushi bar in conjunction with the seafood and service meat department, a brick oven pizzeria and a meat smoker in the bakery/deli section also are planned, Smith said.