By Scott Robertson
With a new two-story Belk store on one side and a movie theatre complex slated to open in October on the other, developer Steve Johnson announced plans Sept. 3 for the next phase of The Pinnacle retail development in Bristol.
“Thirty-six months ago, we were standing here in a 300-acre green field, talking about a vision and a dream,” Johnson said. “Today we’re back, talking not about what the dream and vision is, but about what the reality is.”
That reality is what Johnson has dubbed the Crescent and Tower shops. “It’s a lifestyle center,” Johnson said. “It’s 125,000 square feet. It represents another $30 million in private investment in this project…We’re at $150 million of private investment here already…This new phase brings our total square footage now to 700,000 square feet.”
Johnson quoted BurWil Construction’s Bill Prince as having counted more than 2,000 construction jobs created in the process of building out The Pinnacle. “I also asked Heather Hill, our property manager, to reach out to every retailer and restaurant owner in The Pinnacle and ask how many full- and part-time jobs they have. That total is 1,500.”
Johnson estimated first-year sales for The Pinnacle, including the Crescent and Tower stores at more than $200 million.
Retailers who have signed leases for space in the Crescent and Tower shops include five companies new to the Tri-Cities: Carter’s, OshKosh, LOFT, Francesca’s and Party City. Other retailers include GAP, Old Navy, Justice and Yankee Candle. Those stores are expected to open their doors in Spring 2016. Other new retail and restaurant construction at The Pinnacle scheduled to begin within the next few weeks include Steak and Shake, Panda Express and the region’s only CarMax.
The next venue slated to open is the Pinnacle 12 movie-theatre complex by Marquee Cinemas. Those screens will begin showing movies in late October 2015.
The Tennessee side of the development, which straddles the Virginia state line, has only 20 acres of land still available, though Johnson said he already has plans for it. He declined to go into specifics regarding that plot or the 300 acres he owns on the Virginia side, other than to say he looked forward to working with, “our friends in Washington County, Va., to do more retail, dining, entertainment and residential all the way up to the Gate City Highway.”
Johnson surprised some in the crowd of around 100 local business and government leaders by saying he would, “step back a little bit” before launching into the Virginia side of the development. “There’s a time to go with extreme acceleration and there’s a time to tap the break a bit,” Johnson said. “I just think at this point in time, we’re screaming toward a million square feet and over $200 million in outlay with literally thousands of jobs created. So the pause is not from any reticence whatsoever. It’s to make sure I get it right. That’s a 300-acre blank canvas on that side of the state line. I just think it’s prudent to get it just right.”