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Editorial: What do you want at the Kingsport Pavilion?

Editorial Board • Jul 31, 2019 at 11:54 AM

How many times have you wished that this store or that restaurant would locate in Kingsport, but then thought, well, they don’t really care about what I think.

But they do. They’re even asking.

“They” are Foresite Commercial Real Estate of San Antonio, which owns Kingsport Pavilion. The 394,000-square-foot shopping complex opened 12 years ago along East Stone Drive. Continuing east along the highway, it owns another 1 million-plus square feet of undeveloped space. And it wants you to help in deciding what to do with it.

When the Pavilion opened, Foresite said that one day, Phase II would get underway. That day has arrived, and signs have gone up with contact information.

According to a conceptual site plan for the eastern expansion, the property could accommodate 34,000 square feet of shops, include three outparcels, a 26,000-square-foot grocer and a 47,000-square-foot theater. But that’s just speculation at this point.

“We believe the ideal tenants for Phase II of Kingsport Pavilion will be entertainment and dining-related concepts which will benefit greatly from the success of the retailers in Phase I,” said Bethany Babcock, a principal and co-owner of Foresite. “Our pre-leasing team is actively approaching these businesses on behalf of the development.”

Since development discussions are preliminary, Kingsport does not have a role to play in the project at this time, said Nathan Woods, a development planner with the city.

“We are in contact with the developer and will walk alongside him as he finalizes plans and secures tenants for the site,” Woods said.

“Our hope is that this development would present Kingsport with retail opportunities not previously seen in the region. Such a development would likely fare well.”

Meanwhile, Foresite officials are encouraging Kingsport residents to share their ideas and suggestions for the project on a Facebook page: facebook.com/pg/kingsportpavilion/posts. And ideas are pouring in.

Among suggested retailers are Home Goods, Christmas Tree Shops, Trader Joe’s, Hills Department Store, Costco, Buckles, Torrid, Publix, Dress Barn and The Container Store. And among suggested eateries: Jack In The Box, Whataburger, Baskin-Robbins, Carl’s Jr, Cheese Cake Factory and P.F. Changs. Babcock said Foresite would use these suggestions when approaching prospective retailers, showing them how much local demand exists for their services and products.

Phase I of the site is home to 25 businesses. Phase II can support many more, and Woods believes the demand exists.

“The buying power is here and the demand is here, so we really feel like that would totally complement what’s there,” he said.

Phase II also could involve residential.

“Hopefully some things we don’t have in Kingsport or haven’t seen before,” Woods said.

The developer plans to visit with city leaders in the near future. There is no solid timeline on Phase II as yet, but now’s the time to get your suggestions in.

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