Ingles ‘full steam ahead’
Jeremy Nash
Construction of the Ingles Superstore in Lenoir City is well underway, with groundwork completed and steel framing being placed, as contractor James R. Vannoy & Sons Construction looks to take advantage of a warmer than normal December.
“Full steam ahead but it is still winter and we could still have delays for any number of reasons,” Ron Freeman, chief financial officer for Ingles Markets, said in an email correspondence.
Beth Collins, Lenoir City assistant codes enforcement officer, said the project appeared on schedule, but no completion date had been given to city officials.
“They’re making headway staying right on track,” Collins said. “They’ve not had any issues, and we anticipate them staying on track. Of course this time of year always the weather can play into that. You get into a lot of rain and stuff, but once you get past the initial foundation stage where the dirt, that’s what really slows you up with the rain. Once you get into framing and stuff it’s not as — doesn’t hold you back as much.”
Collins said asbestos abatement was completed in late August, which was followed shortly thereafter with the beginning of construction.
Freeman confirmed the project was “too early for us to commit a completion date.”
Lenoir City Assistant Administrator Amber Scott said the new Ingles store should give residents “yet another option” for grocery shopping. She said she was “very encouraged” the store model would be similar to that of the Farragut location.
The new Ingles will include a Gas Express and a Starbucks, Freeman said.
“If the Gas Express completes before the store project is completed, then we will consider opening the Gas Express first. The reverse is also true,” Freeman said in an email correspondence.
In a previous interview, Collins said the new grocery store is anticipated to be slightly larger than 72,000 square feet, which is smaller than what Ingles Markets initially planned prior to halting multiple projects. At one point the store was estimated to be 80,098 square feet.
Collins said Vannoy Construction has remained in contact with city officials.
“It will bring a lot of people from out of town in the surrounding areas, and I think it’s going to add a lot to the — I mean they’re not building it out by the interstate,” Councilman Mike Henline said. “They’re building it more or less where they were there, and I just think it’s a wonderful thing for the city anytime you can improve and have projects like that.”
Once the Ingles Superstore is complete, Collins said store officials may look to lease the current grocery building.
“There’s been some back and forth,” Collins said. “The first initial discussion was that they would renovate it and lease the space out. Then there was talk that it may be more prudent to tear that down and rebuild something for someone. We don’t have any definite plans on that and I think that will kind of depend on the tenant that’s going to go in there and their needs. We’ll kind of cross that bridge when we get to it.”