Future of Anthropologie postponed due to controversy over street

9:29 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

It seems everyone agrees a major national retail chain would benefit Knoxville's Bearden district.

"They generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales tax. I'm trying to improve the community with a pedestrian village," said Developer Tony Cappiello.

He has worked for two years to bring Anthropologie, an upscale clothing and furniture store, to his property on Kingston Pike.

Even their potential competition, Southern Market, located behind the future site of Anthropolgie said they welcome them.

"To have a business like Anthropologie join our community does nothing but good things for us. We are thrilled," said Southern Market Boutique owner, Amy Fay Chandler.

But the road that Cappiello says makes or breaks the deal, Ben Atchley Street, brings out very different opinions.  Cappiello said it's critical to provide parking for Anthropologie and the surrounding development.  Southern Market said it's vital to their accessibility, visibility, and proximity to Kingston Pike.

The decision is up to the city council. It is on the agenda for Tuesday night. However, Cappiello said he is going to postpone his appeal for two weeks after polling city council members and finding concerns about giving a private developer public property.

Cappiello wants more time to attempt compromise with the businesses who oppose the closure.

He says providing the businesses with an easement or access through his parking lot is on the table.

"We're talking about a 180-foot roadway very few people use," said Cappiello.

"The traffic there is not as insignificant as they portray," said Southern Market's attorney, John King, who called a press conference on Monday.

10News wanted to see how many people actually use Ben Atchley street, a small road that connects Homberg Drive and Kingston Pike. We counted the traffic for two hours Monday and found that 35 cars used the street each hour. That's one car about every two minutes.

The city also did their own study in mid-April over seven days and the data was similar. They found an average of 253 cars used the road per day.

That's enough for Southern Market to say it needs to stay open.

"It's not the most highly utilized street, but for what is here, I think that demonstrates a good utilization of that street," said King.

But Cappiello says there are three other access points drivers can use to reach Southern Market and that his development will only increase traffic and visibility for their business.

"I think I'm asking very little for what I'm bringing to the table," Cappiello said.

Cappiello said the store was set to open this spring.  However, the delays have pushed it back to at least July.

Most Watched Videos