Ingles Markets officials are gearing up for demolition of the vacant space beside the grocery outlet in preparation for construction of a new store on the property.
“We have begun asbestos abatement and have a site plan on file with Lenoir City for redevelopment that will include a new Ingles with a Gas Express,” Ron Freeman, chief financial officer for Ingles Markets, said in an email correspondence. “We are not sure about the timing of future steps due to various issues, including possible plan changes, regulatory compliance and the weather.
“We’ll have more to say once the next stages get started,” he said.
Beth Collins, Lenoir City assistant codes enforcement officer, said she has been in “constant contact” with Ingles recently as the property goes through asbestos abatement required by the state.
“They have to notify the state when you demolition for a commercial project, and you just file paperwork with them,” Collins said. “So as soon as they get that back to us, then we’re going to issue the demolition permit, and they can move forward to demolition the empty vacant part to the left of Ingles, demo all of that and then build a new Ingles store.”
Demolition of the vacant property should get a green light within two weeks, Collins said, adding a demolition permit will be delivered once paperwork is received from the state.
“Typically, the state requires a 10-day window when you file for demolition of a commercial project,” Collins said. “... so by the time they get that done and then get stuff back to us, I was looking at about two weeks. Sometimes they can go a little faster depending on how much the state’s bogged down, and, of course, it could always be a little longer depending on how fast the state moves.”
The building is expected to be a little more than 72,000 square feet, which is slightly smaller than what was originally anticipated a couple years ago before Ingles paused multiple projects to adjust its building model, Collins said. In addition, a gas station located near U.S. Highway 321 is expected to be constructed.
Previously, the new building was anticipated to be an 80,098-square-foot Ingles Superstore.
“They had several projects of this nature in the works, and they at some point had decided to adjust their model and so they put several projects, not just ours, but several projects on hold and did a somewhat smaller store than they had originally planned to see if that ... worked better for them, and it did, so that’s the model they’re moving forward with now,” Collins said.
The contractor’s name is Johnny Miller, but Collins did not receive the name of his company when Ingles was in contact with the city last week, she said.
“I think that they’ve had some other stores that they were building, and remodeling and this one was in the queue and our number popped up and here they are,” Jim Wilburn, Lenoir City administrator, said.
Wilburn said any local businesses involved in upgrades, “especially of this magnitude,” is good for the city.
“I think they’re going to have a real nice facility, and, of course, they’re going to have the gas station, so those people that have Ingles gas cards won’t have to go to Farragut, they’ll stay here, and they can use their points here,” Wilburn said. “... It’s going to be the latest and the greatest, so I welcome it. I think it’s going to be great.”