Bass Pro Shop to open in Our Area
Posted in the Elizabethton Forum
#1 Aug 14, 2012
Looks like Bass Pro beat Cabelas to develop a store in the tri-cities. There was talk a Cabelas was looking to locate at the interchange at I-26 and I-81. I would think the Bass Pro announcement has probably killed the Cabelas project. Can't see both of them locating in this area.
Moments after concluding a Monday afternoon phone call with Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Johnson and project partner Mark McDonald formally announced that the Missouri-based chain would anchor their planned new 1.3-million-square-foot Pinnacle center near Interstate 81’s Exit 74.
The announcement came during a hastily called late afternoon news conference that started 30 minutes late as both men scrambled on what appeared to be a series of calls followed by a celebratory “high five” while walking from Johnson’s office to the conference room in the Wells Fargo bank building.
“We wanted to wait until we had a signed, legal document,” Johnson said of the delay.“We didn’t want to do anything that was not factual. This is no blue sky; this is a done deal. They [Bass Pro] are coming.”
Monday’s long-rumored announcement is the first in an ongoing tug-of-war between both Bristols and the city of Kingsport to establish a substantial commercial center along the Interstate 81 corridor.
As outlined, the proposed Pinnacle center is expected to include a mix of retail, dining and lodging, a 14-screen movie theater and a 7,000-seat amphitheater for live music performances, Johnson said, comparing the plans to the expansive Turkey Creek development in Knoxville, Tenn.
Johnson Commercial Development will partner with Oldacre McDonald of Nashville,Tenn., to create the center at Bristol West, a long idle 400-acre parcel straddling the Tennessee-Virginia line. The two firms tried years ago to build a large commercial project near Interstate 81’s Exit 7, but it stalled amid a lengthy legal battle between Bristol, Va., and Washington County, Va.The Nashville firm later established a scaled-back version known as The Highlands just across from Sugar Hollow Park.
Work is expected to begin on the 100,000-plus-square-foot Bass Pro Shop store – and other parts of the development’s first phase -- in early 2013 with opening expected in late 2013 or early 2014, Johnson said.
Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris said he’s has been looking at potential sites in the Tri-Cities area for some time because of the region’s excellent hunting and fishing opportunities.
“For all of us at Bass Pro Shop, this is a very, very happy day,” Morris said in an exclusive interview with the Bristol Herald Courier.“I’m a big fan and have been coming to Bristol for years for the races and we look forward to being there real soon.”
The chain operates 58 stores nationwide, including locations in Sevierville and Nashville, Tenn.
“That’s [Tri-Cities] a great area where a lot of people fish and hunt and we feel like there’s a great opportunity in that part of the world. We’re very excited,” Morris said.“We’ll build a special store that pays tribute to the Bristol, Tenn., region. We studied the area. We like the opportunity it represents and chance to work with our friends at Bristol Motor Speedway – Jerry Caldwell and Bruton Smith.”
Bass Pro Shops has sponsored NASCAR race teams and events for many years.
Characterizing the competition between cities as the “white elephant in the room,” Johnson said this project offers the most potential.
“There’s been a lot of talk about a project in Kingsport and a project at Exit 5,” Johnson said.“I have a lot of respect for the guys in Kingsport. I wish them the best; the same in Bristol, Va.We looked at that site. The city leaders implored us to consider doing this up there. But there are too many issues with that site. We felt confident we’re in the right spot.”
#2 Aug 14, 2012
I heard, about 2 weeks ago, that a Gander Mountain was coming to somewhere in the Tri-Cities. Bass Pro should do well.
#3 Aug 16, 2012
Probably a strategic move by Bass Pro to discourage competition. They don't usually locate stores so close together. They have a massive one just off the exit to Pigeon Forge only 90 minutes away. Probably the only reason to put one in Bristol is to protect their East Tn market and discourage other similar type stores..Cabella, etc. from locating in the area. I don't know that to be true or anything, just guessing.
Personally, I think their prices aren't that great. I think they are a little high and I think Dick's sporting goods is over-priced on a lot of things also. If I am going to pay that much, I'd just as soon go to Mahoney's and pay for quality.
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