David Garfunkel & Co. Senior Vice President Joseph Goldstein, whose company owns the Town Creek property, said the developer hopes to soon make announcements of other big box retailers making the move to Lenoir City.
“We are hoping to move forward with it, and we have a lot of other big box retailers that are planning to come to town, and we hope to make some announcements just as soon as they’ve gone through their real estate committee,” Goldstein said Monday. “We are actually hoping to break ground sometime this summer on the whole project.”
During an announcement ceremony in late August, David Garfunkel & Co. representatives outlined potential retailers could include small clothing shops, pet stores and eateries neighboring Marquee Cinemas, which is based in West Virginia, that will be built to the right of the current Food City location off U.S. Highway 321.
Goldstein said the developer hopes to break ground on retail space that will neighbor the cinema in late summer with a grand opening ceremony slated to be held by this time next year.
“The rest of the project is moving forward at a very good pace, and we hope to be able to bring in some very nice big box retailers,” he said. “We hope to break ground sometime this summer or late spring with a grand opening this time next year, early 2016.
“I really am not at liberty to disclose which tenants we are speaking to at the moment, but we do have a lot of very interested clients for Lenoir City,” Goldstein said, adding that he hopes to announce which big box retailers will relocate to the area within “the next month or so.”
While he indicated that good news was on the horizon for future retail development, Goldstein said the cinema project is being delayed due to personal issues in higher management staff within the company.
Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said he believes the cinema will still make a positive impact on the local economy.
“I’ve met with them before the holidays,” Aikens said about cinema officials Monday. “I still feel confident that they are going to build, and they assured me that they are going to.”
The cinema, expected to rival other theaters in the region and create 35-40 jobs, will include 10 screens, luxury, reclined and reserved seats with digital technology and some 3-D screens.
Marquee President and Chief Executive Officer Curtis McCall said in August that original plans were to break ground on the theater in November and to open the theater by sometime this summer.
Marquee also plans to build a new theater in Bristol. The company has a total of 19 locations.
Aikens added that dining seating in the theater will also be an added plus at the Lenoir City location.
“It will give families a place to go instead of having to travel to Turkey Creek or on into west Knoxville,” Aikens said. “I feel like it will be an economic boost. I think we will have people obviously from surrounding counties come to us (due to) less traffic issues. I think people from Maryville and people obviously from Loudon and Athens and other areas will visit us, Oak Ridge.
“It’s supposed to be a state-of-the-art movie theater,” he added. “You’re supposed to be able to sit down and eat dinner as well as watch a movie. It will be different than what we are used to when we go to a movie theatre. So it will be huge for Lenoir City and Loudon County, and we’ve worked very hard to try to convince them of that, and they agree, and the community supports it.”
Marquee representatives did not return phone calls for comment.