JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – There have been a number of talks regarding developments in Boones Creek following the completion of the Exit 17 interchange. One of the projects currently in the works is “The Promenade.”
Promenade developer Steve Weston said the property will be just shy of 70 acres and located near the corner of Christian Church Road and Boones Creek Road, parallel to the BrightRidge power office.
The development has been a long time coming, and now it’s even closer to becoming a reality. Weston shared the preliminary site concept with News Channel 11 and also discussed his vision for the property.
Weston said he wants the space to be diverse and welcoming to people of all ages from across the region and beyond, while at the same time bringing a retail and entertainment venue to the region that’s unlike any other in the area.
“I think that we need to get into the 2020s, the roaring 20s so to speak, and that we need to now have something for the next 20 years that is going to be the concept of bringing a lot of people together into the same space with lots of different options,” said Weston.
He said at this point in time, the closest retail venue comparable in size to this project in the city is the Mall at Johnson City, but that property doesn’t utilize outdoor spaces as much as he plans to do with The Promenade.
Weston said he was in part inspired by a space in Delray Beach, Florida that fully utilized outdoor seating, walkways and attractions to make the venue versatile for those visiting.
He said it will be a mixed-use development with both local and commercial retailers. While the site concept is just a footprint for the project, Weston said the likelihood of a luxury movie theater and popular grocery store in the space is highly likely.
He also hopes to bring in a number of attractions. Some of the ideas brainstormed in the concept included ax throwing, a bowling alley or even laser tag. Weston said there is also a plan to build residential units.
Weston said the possibilities with a venue like this are endless, but the most difficult challenge will soon be upon him when it comes to finding tenants.
“Right now, it’s difficult for a lot of businesses to want to commit to a big project at a new location that’s going to happen two years from now when they’re really trying to deal with the challenges of today,” said Weston.
Now that the site concept is complete, Weston said engineers will further work on the plan, then they will work towards finding tenants.
He said some local businesses have already reached out and expressed their interest in the project. Following the finalization of tenants, the plan will be presented to officials with the City of Johnson City and eventually presented to the state for final approval.
Weston said they hope to present to the city by the end of May.
He also mentioned the possible installation of an attraction that would make those passing through want to stop at an attraction like this. He said developers have been approached about building the world’s largest box of popcorn and that a project like that is not out of the question for them.
Again, the site concept is just a footprint with a lot of work still to be done before being approved and breaking ground.
As of right now, with the cost of building materials changing every day, Weston said he can’t estimate a solid final cost at this time but will know closer to the time they break ground.
“Will things have settled back down to where they were last year? Or will they be at some new sky-high record? I don’t know,” said Weston.
By this time next year, he said he hopes they’ll be breaking ground on an attraction that will greatly benefit the Tri-Cities.