Bearden business owners worried road closure will affect spendin

Bearden business owners worried road closure will affect spending

Posted:
The city of Knoxville is considering closing Ben Atchley Drive in Bearden for a new development. The city of Knoxville is considering closing Ben Atchley Drive in Bearden for a new development.
Kelly Savell, owner of Southern Market, is worried the road closure will affect her business. Kelly Savell, owner of Southern Market, is worried the road closure will affect her business.
Ben Atchley Drive in Bearden is only a block long, but leads straight to Southern Market. Ben Atchley Drive in Bearden is only a block long, but leads straight to Southern Market.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Several business owners are upset about the possibility that the road leading to their shops will be permanently closed.

Ben Atchley Drive in Bearden is only a block long, but leads straight to Southern Market.

Kelly Savell owns two shops inside the building.

She says closing Ben Atchley will hurt her chances as a small business owner.

"It is a direct access to our building, as well as visibility to our building. The closure of the road will actually be detrimental to the Southern Market, and will affect all of us economically," Savell explained.

Savell thinks having to take an alternate route will prevent customers from coming.

"We're thrilled to have the new development here in Bearden, the district of Bearden. We work very closely with all of our businesses here. But the development, once the road is closed, is going to block our visibility from Kingston Pike, which as you know, is very heavily traveled here in Knoxville," Savell added.

Developer Tony Cappiello says that by closing off Ben Atchley and bringing new businesses in,  Southern Market could actually see more customers as people come in to check out the new stores.

"I'm turning what now is a bunch of people driving up and down Kingston Pike at a fairly rapid rate of speed to actually stopping, going to Anthropologie. I'm turning it in to a pedestrian community," Cappiello said.

Cappiello says it isn't his plan to hide the building either.

"When we redevelop Backyard Burger, we'll actually be taking that building down and be creating some new shops. Those will be pushed toward Bennett Galleries so it will really open up the area, and if anything, it will improve the visibility of Southern Market."

The plan has already been reviewed by city engineers, the Fire Prevention Bureau and KUB.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposed change at Thursday's meeting.

It starts at 1:30 in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building.

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