Home builder Mike Stevens says about 28 families already live in Northshore Town Center
Target and Publix will open at the Northshore Town Center later this summer
With just several weeks until two big retailers open in West Knox County, developers and builders behind the Northshore Town Center project hope more people will soon be looking at homes nearby.
Target and Publix will open at the Town Center later this summer. The planned community has both homes and businesses, as well as an elementary school scheduled to open in 2013.
On Wednesday afternoon, construction crews were working at several points within the Town Center.
"It's music to my ears!" said the project's home builder, Mike Stevens, of Mike Stevens Homes.
"I've waited five or six years to hear this, so it sounds like progress to me and we're excited about it."
He says about 28 families already call the Town Center home, including his own family. With the elementary school addition, he expects many more will join the neighborhood.
"We're getting a lot of inquires from young families that want to walk their kids to school in the mornings," he said.
The "town center" trend is spreading around the country. Knoxville Chamber CEO Mike Edwards says the concept has potential, but also carries a high risk.
"It's simpler to plan a strip center, a Target complex, or a housing development. It is much harder to get them all integrated, and in this case, an elementary school," Edwards said.
However, he expects success from the big box stores, which will drive retailers and draw homeowners.
"That is going to be a very hot place for people to have homes because it is in a contained deal, particularly if they've got kids in elementary school," he said.
Stevens said tough economic times have slowed some progress, but he predicts the Northshore Town Center will be an ultimate success.
"We're seeing a real resurgence. We get a call every two to three days, [where] somebody is interested or they have a house to sell," he said.
"But I think this is going to be very successful in the long run, both for residential and commercial."