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As one outlet mall site on the south side of Simpsonville looks for approval on a zone change, another right across the street is announcing that it, too, has developed a plan for its location.
Trio Property announced last month that it was trying to secure a development plan and would seek zoning approval for its 82-acre parcel on the east side of Buck Creek Road in Simpsonville just south of Interstate 64.
That location is just a few hundred feet from Horizon Group’s 50-acre, proposed development on the west side of Buck Creek Road at the intersection with Veechdale Road.
On Wednesday Trio completed its preliminary development plan and reported being nearly ready to move on to the Triple S Planning Commission for zone change approval.
“I don’t know if we’ll make it for the August agenda or September, but it’s no real matter,” said Bill Bardenwerper, a development attorney with Bardenwerper Talbott & Roberts, which recently was brought on board with the project.
“It’s not a horse race. Good plans are approved, and bad ones aren’t. I think if you have two good plans right across the street from each other, you won’t approve one and deny the other.”
That was in reference to Horizon's efforts to take its 363,000-square-foot development in front of the planning commission on Tuesday for a zone change request. The company is requesting that 23.76 acres of combined Agricultural and Commercial zoned areas be rezoned to Limited Interchange to match the rest of the property and allow the building to begin.
According to John Addington of BTM Engineering in Louisville, who has worked on Trio’s development plans, a little more than 16 acres of Trio’s site is zoned Interchange and a little more than 66 acres is Agricultural.
Bardenwerper said the holdup on the Trio Property has been the access point from Buck Creek Road. However, after working with the state and seeing the development proposals from Horizon, Trio has decided to move the entrance to its development directly across from the proposed placement of Veechdale Road.
The Horizon plans have shown Veechdale Road moved from its location next to the exit ramp of I-64 east bound to just south of that development.
“Since there must be a light there for traffic to turn left [north] out of the other development, we decided it would be a good location for a left turn into the entrance of our development,” Bardenwerper said.
The preliminary development for Trio shows 11 buildings in the main 400,000-square-foot retail area with another 25,000-square-foot building on the east end of the development, which could be used like an out lot or an endcap for the outlet center, Addington said.
The largest building in the main cluster of the shopping center is 67,000 square feet, and the smallest is 17,000 square feet.
Although Addington said he hasn’t worked out the full acreage of its parking lot and buildings, the outlet mall development does include almost 2,100 parking spaces.
On the west side of the lot, at the entrance, there also are seven out lots, ranging from .8 to 1.4 acres.
Those involved with the group say they believe their site to be the better site for development because there doesn’t appear to be any issues with the property other than zoning.
“We don’t have any issues with the Army Corps of Engineers, we don’t have any sewer issues,” said Stuart Flowers, the property manager with Trio Property.
Flowers added that he believes the state’s work on the road in the area will be done in the first half of 2014 and he believes his property will be able to open by mid-to-late 2014.
Traffic and issues
The main concern many residents have had with the Horizon plan is the amount of traffic that will be introduced into the area, especially at two interstate ramps which residents claim are already dangerous because of the amount of truck traffic in because of the Pilot Truck Stop and the Shelby County Flea Market on the north side of I-64.
“We’ve been working with the state on their traffic analysis, which has included both developments,” Bardenwerper said. “What we really expect, although I don’t know for sure, is that there will be six lanes at the signal [for Veechdale and Buck Creek Roads and the entrance to the Trio development], with dual left turn in lanes for us [headed south] and dual left turns out for them [headed north back to the interstate].
“That’s what we believe is going to be proposed to the state.”
Another issue for Trio will be that the south side of its property will back up directly to the Hunters Pointe subdivision.
“We will screen and provide a buffer to that the south side properties,” Bardenwerper said.
Both Bardenwerper and Flowers have said that they don’t believe one mall is the only option and that they won’t let Horizon’s development dictate what they’re doing on the east side of Buck Creek Road.
“Can there be two outlet malls? I don’t know,” Flowers said. “Before I would’ve said no, but now I don’t know. There are two malls right next to each other in Louisville, and they’re always very crowded.
“Whatever they’re doing across the street, we’re not going to let it bother us. They have a fine site, but we believe ours is better because there aren’t any problems with the site.”
Added Bardenwerper: “I think if the planning commission wants retail of this size on the west side of the road, then they will approve it on the other side as well in relation to the Comprehensive Plan, traffic study, etc. Then, whether or not both are built, I think that’s what the market will decide.”
Flowers said it’s a strong indication that no matter what happens on the west side of Buck Creek Road, it’s likely his development will move on.
“We have one outlet mall company that we’re working very closely with,” he said, although he declined to comment on which one. “But I will say there has been interest from more than the two outlet developers that are moving forward. There is a lot of interest in this area. I’m just excited to get fifteen hundred to twenty-five hundred jobs in the area.”