KINGSPORT - Shane's Rib Shack isn't coming to Kingsport. And it's not coming to Bristol or Johnson City, either.
However, Starbucks, Talbot's and Panera Bread are still coming to the Reedy Creek Terrace development in Kingsport just west of Eastman Road, between the Golden Corral and Palace Vending.
The Shane's plans went public in late April during a meeting of business leaders at the Ridgefields Country Club, but the developer of Reedy Creek Terrace said the franchisee canceled the deal a day later.
"They called us here. They canceled this and five different deals in the Tri-Cities," said Roger Ball, Tazewell, Tenn.-based developer of Reedy Creek Terrace where a Shane's franchise planned to locate. "They canceled out all of them."
Ball, who jump-started redevelopment in Kingsport with the East Stone Commons development on the east side of Eastman Road, hasn't found a replacement for Shane's yet, so the parcel where Shane's would have located is still available.
A spokeswoman for Shane's did not respond to a request for comment.
"The deal was done. Everything was approved by corporate," said Dixon Greenwood, director of development for Ball Realty and Auction Inc. "The next morning (after the Kingsport breakfast) I got a phone call saying they were going to have to not do the deal and they were stepping away from five others in East Tennessee."
But for lovers of ribs who want fast-casual service, Doug Beaty plans to open a fast-casual restaurant called 12 Bones on Main Street downtown in early August.
And on the upside for economic development and retail, Starbucks construction will start within the next few weeks, Greenwood said.
"The Starbucks construction is going to start in the next couple of weeks," he said of a building project Starbucks is doing. The location will be a full-service store with a drive-through window and is to open before year's end.
Bids on construction of the Talbot's and Panera buildings are due to Ball July 26, and Greenwood said construction overseen by Ball will start in late August or early September. Greenwood said those two businesses, with the tenants to finish the inside, are slated to open in early 2008.
Ball said attracting tenants to the 50,000-square-foot Reedy Creek development, which still has retail and office space open, including some along the creek, has been difficult in recent months because of the effect of the Kingsport Pavilion just east of Lowe's on Stone Drive.
"We kind of hit a slowdown with this new Pavilion," Ball said, adding that he believes things will pick up soon. Greenwood said that with East Stone Commons, the Pavilion, Reedy Creek, the Fort Henry Mall and other retailers, shoppers will stop in Kingsport instead of bypassing it for Johnson City or other shopping destinations.
The East Stone Commons development, which Ball sold but still helps manage, is still searching for a sit-down restaurant for the old Ward's Auto Center site near Wendy's and Kmart.
Greenwood said the traffic light planned for the intersection of Indian Trail and Stone Drive - between the potential restaurant site and Wendy's - will help attract a restaurant.
Michael Thompson, traffic engineering manager for Kingsport, said he expects the Tennessee Department of Transportation will have contractors on the project - which also includes a raised median from Indian Trail east to Eastman Road - around the spring of 2008. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a contract for the project with TDOT at its Tuesday meeting.
Meanwhile, Greenwood said, Ball Realty is still talking with a few restaurants and a bank about locating on the old Cox Oldsmobile property on Stone Drive, next to the Putt-Putt Miniature Golf.
For more information visit www.ballrealty.com.