National retailer Anthropologie at risk over side street

10:34 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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A national retailer set to open in West Knoxville might not be coming after all.

The developer of Anthropologie, Tony Capiello, said he needs to close Ben Atchley Street next to the property or he could lose the deal.

"Anthropologie is a very coveted brand and a lot of communities are welcoming the company with open arms. Anything that impedes its ability to conduct its business as it wishes is detrimental," Capiello said.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission denied that request last week, despite a recommendation for approval from the city. Capiello said he plans to file an appeal to the city council.

Ben Atchley Street is only about 200 feet long, but Southern Market, a business that sits at the end of the road says it's important to visibility and access to their business. They filed a petition to the MPC with more than 50 signatures.

Cappiello needs the street closed in order to provide enough parking for Anthropologie and to have space to create what he calls an upscale, pedestrian friendly development that would include other shops and restaurants.

Other established Bearden businesses are stepping up to support Anthropolgie, even if it means closing the street.

"We're just trying to look at the big picture for all of us," said Betty Copeland, owner of Sole in the City in Cherokee Plaza.

"It will bring in other small businesses and I think it will help improve the overall quality of the community," said Scott Layton, owner of The Cup.

The Cup has an interest in the property. They plan on opening another dessert shop in the Anthropologie development. They have started an email chain in hopes of garnering support.

Cappiello has until April 1st to file the appeal.

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