SNEAK PEAK: This diagram of the Pikeville Commons project was unveiled
during an Oct. 22 taping of a Pike TV program that will provide
information about various economic development projects in Pikeville.
PIKEVILLE — Officials planning the Pikeville Commons retail development are still tight-lipped about the names of nationally-known businesses that will open stores in Pikeville, but they provided additional information about the project during the recording of a Pike TV episode that will air this month.
On Oct. 22, Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn, City Commissioner Jimmy Carter and host Jill Fraley sat down to discuss Pikeville Commons with project developer Neil Wilson of RealtyLink. The roundtable discussion will premier Oct. 31 on Pike TV’s channel 99 as part of a program on economic development projects currently ongoing in the city.
City officials have worked with Wilson and RealtyLink over the past two years on the project, which is expected to bring dozens of nationally-known stores onto vacant property near Texas Roadhouse, adjacent to Thompson Road in Pikeville.
Recently, the U.S. Postal Service signed a contract permitting the relocation of its distribution center on Thompson Road, paving the way for the construction of the 200,000 square foot retail development.
“It’s been a tug of war trying to get the post office to the finish, but Donovan [Blackburn] has done a great job, and the commission, to get the post office property under contract, so at this point, then, we could move forward,” Wilson said.
He would not disclose the names of businesses that will move into Pikeville Commons, but he shared the names of several retailers that his company regularly works with, including Kohl’s, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Starbucks, Ulta Cosmetics, Academy Sports, TJ Max, DSW shoes, Olive Garden and numerous fast food restaurants.
Wilson reported that 100,000 square feet of the 220,000-square-foot shopping complex will be dedicated to five nationally-known retailers that have already signed letters-of-intent for Pikeville Commons. According to him, another 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of retail space will fill up quickly after those stores are brought to Pikeville Commons.
He reported that the shopping complex will include a 55,000 square foot craft store, three nationally-known apparel stores, a 10,000 square foot shoe store, a 7,500 square foot pet store and other businesses.
“We have a craft store,” he said. “We’ve got two soft goods, apparel stores, both national brands. We have a 10,000 square foot shoe store. We’ll probably end up with a 10,000 square foot beauty, cosmetic, salon-type store. And then, of course, we have a pet store and another dress shop.... Then, I think we’ll have around 20,000 square feet of shop space that will be more for your local merchants.”
Wilson reported that local businesses are contacting him regularly about the possibility of moving into Pikeville Commons, which may also feature restaurants.
“I think there’s a real possibility that you could land another sit-down casual restaurant like Texas Roadhouse,” Wilson said. “We do have a signed letter of intent with a 6,000 square foot Chinese Hibachi-style restaurant. I know we’ll have at least one more restaurant.”
Pikeville Commons will also provide 58 one-, two- and three-bedroom units on the second and third floors of the facility.
“This will be called a mixed-use project with retail and residential,” Wilson said. “People can shop and also live here. They can rent or lease. It’s two floors of residential above the retail. Residential units will have off-site parking. Behind the center will be like a carport or a garage where they can park and an elevator in the front that will service their guests. Friends, family and so forth, they can park along with retail customers and go through a lobby-type area and go to the elevator go up.”
“That’s so exciting,” Fraley told him.
When asked about how the addition of residential space came about, Wilson said it just made sense because of the need for residential housing in Pikeville.
“I had no idea that residential was in much demand as it in,” he said. “When we sort of did some research with Donovan [Blackburn} and the commission, and learned that residential is also very difficult — which, if you think about it, it’s a mountainous area, for you to be able to build residential area, you’ve got to have utility services to that area — so it, sort of, I think, makes a lot of sense that while you’ve got a footprint for the retail, you might as well go vertical a few floors and capture some residential.”
Wilson reported that the design of Pikeville Commons has “blossomed into almost like a horseshoe-shaped lifestyle center with Texas Roadhouse in the center.”
Storefronts will be visible via U.S. 23, and Wilson is negotiating a possible access road near Walmart.
“When you look at the full scope of this project, it’s not just about the retail. It’s about the quality of life,” said Blackburn, who called the design of ‘Pikeville Commons “outstanding.”
Wilson reported that the project will be “almost” entirely completed in one phase and will take approximately eight months to complete once construction gets underway. Some stores will open as their buildings are completed.
“In an ideal world, we would try to get construction started sometime in April — March or April — try to get the majority of the buildings that are not open for the fall of 2013, or at least get them in the dry, get them turned over to the tenants in December or early January,” Wilson said.
Al Greenfield, manager of Pike TV, reported that the documentary will premier at 8 p.m. on Oct. 31 and continue to be shown multiple times on Pike TV throughout November. The show may also be accessed, beginning Oct. 31, at piketv.com.