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Everything posted by jmtunafish

  1. The new engineering building at Tech is going to be quite a showplace. It's being named for Tech alum Ashraf Islam who donated $3 million towards its construction. Mr. Islam arrived at Tech over 50 years ago from his native East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) with nothing more than $400 and a suitcase of personal belongings. He now lives in Houston and has made a fortune in the world of engineering, which he credits to his education at Tech. This is going to be a very impressive facility.
  2. The Nashville MSA had 30,469 new housing starts in 2021 which places it 11th in the country. The top 20: 1. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX - 76,909 2. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX - 69,053 3. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA - 58,035 4. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ - 51,923 5. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX - 50,772 6. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA - 39,296 7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD - 37,449 8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA - 30,967 9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA - 30,814 10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL - 30,533 11. Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN - 30,469 12. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO - 30,004 13. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC - 28,309 14. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV - 27,075 15. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI - 25,742 16. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL - 25,350 17. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL - 24,826 18. Jacksonville, FL - 22,725 19. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX - 22,229 20. Raleigh-Cary, NC - 21,649 https://www.census.gov/construction/bps/
  3. FedEx is building a 255,000 square foot facility just south of the new Exit 283 on I-40, right behind the massive Academy Sports distribution center. No word on how many will work there, but I assume it will be similar to the 75 who will be working at Clarksville's identical facility. A 92-acre tract in the south side of town adjacent to White County is being rezoned to allow 351 homes. Not too far from there, the regional airport is doing a study to see if it should try to lure commercial service to the airport. Some of the property owners around the airport are getting hysterical about this, thinking Upper Cumberland Regional is going to start having noisy Allegiant flights to Destin or something else as wildly stupid. The airport manager was quoted in NewsChannel5 saying it would most likely be 3-5 flights per week and on very small commuter planes. Probably a Boutique Air type situation like they have in the Jackson TN airport, 8-seater turboprops to Atlanta. It's still a big if. The city of Cookeville is going to build an aquatics park. They've already contracted with Nashville's Lose Design which did a similar water park south of Atlanta and are seeking public input on what should be included. The vice mayor was on the radio yesterday saying it will probably include facilities to host swimming and diving competitions, again, similar to the Lose Design park south of Atlanta. The new Portobello ceramic tile factory in Baxter is progressing nicely. It's in Baxter but is less than 2 miles from Cookeville. The building will be 1/4 mile long. Even though the building won't open for another year, they're starting to hire the first 100 workers, many of whom will be sent to Italy and Brazil to be trained. The state has finished purchasing the right of way for a new road that will connect Portobello to I-40's Exit 280. In other Baxter news, the mayor of Baxter was on a radio show the other day to give updates on some of the growth taking place in the little town. He said a couple of different shopping center developers and supermarkets are looking at Baxter, several more restaurants are about to get started, a hotel is going to break ground soon, and close to 1,000 new homes are planned. Several hundred are planned in single development south of I-40 not too far from the Portobello plant. He wasn't at liberty to reveal names of these restaurants and supermarkets. But for a town of only 1,600, this is all pretty significant. And in other industrial development news, a 32-acre site near the I-40/Hwy 111 interchange is being pursued by a couple of different outfits, one is a food manufacturer, and the other is a manufacturer of solar panel components. No names can be released until deals are in place. But the more exciting news is that something big is on the horizon. Highlands Economic Partnership Vice President Stephen Crook informed the [Cookeville Industrial Development] board that several projects are in the works that are bigger than what has ever been seen before. “The utility demands and square footage — all bigger than we’ve ever seen before,” Crook said. “We’re working to leverage both public and privately owned properties to solidify that.” He also made the board aware that the industrial recruitment efforts are being narrowed in an effort to not compete with existing businesses. “We’re not looking for those projects that would compete with existing employers. With [workforce] participation rate being down and unemployment being down as well, we don’t have the people to fill those low-skilled positions,” Crook said. “The ones we are going after are high wage, and Tennessee Tech graduates are a key driver for some of those.”
  4. I've always said that if a new theme park were to be built in the Nashville area, Wilson County south of Lebanon along I-840 would be the ideal location. I hope this happens.
  5. You guys are a lot smarter than I am, so I'm hoping someone can explain to me why Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is half the size of BNA, now has nonstop service to three European cities while BNA has just one? American flies from RDU to London-LHR, Delta flies from RDU to Paris-CDG, and now Icelandair has announced it will fly from RDU to Reykjavik. Is the only reason BNA doesn't have more trans-Atlantic service because we don't have adequate gate and immigration facilities? Or does RDU pay lavish incentives that BNA doesn't pay? For those of us who love traveling to Europe, it's frustrating to see places like Raleigh-Durham get more service. I'd love for Icelandair to come here. Great fares to lots of European destinations, and often you can get a nice, extended overnight stay in Reykjavik for just a few dollars. Rant over.
  6. Atlanta has just one IKEA. But several large metro areas do have at least two: Miami, DFW, Philly, DC, LA, Chicago, NYC. IKEA is even more popular in Canada where smaller cities like Québec City (a city the size of Knoxville) and Winnipeg have IKEA, and Toronto has 6 of them. It baffles the mind why IKEA stopped expanding in the US. And the posters who said that IKEA's home delivery service sucks are so right. I once ordered a chest of drawers for delivery when I lived in Knoxville. That's it. Just a chest of drawers. They delivered it in a gigantic Mayflower type moving truck. And my chest of drawers was the only thing in the truck. I just drive to Atlanta now whenever I need my IKEA fix as I do not trust their home delivery. Their cafeteria is really, really good, by the way. When I lived in Atlanta I'd go there quite often just for lunch, and eating at their restaurant does help ease the pain of driving 3.5 hours to Atlanta just for furniture.
  7. I don't know if this is much consolation for not having a real IKEA store in Nashville. The furniture company IKEA is piloting its first pick-up point in the nation here in Nashville. Even though the city doesn’t have an IKEA store, some existing customers in the greater Nashville area are able to order furniture online and pick it up at a location on Spence Lane. “At IKEA U.S., we’re on a journey to transform our business to meet our customers wherever they are and however they like to shop,” IKEA told WPLN News in an emailed statement. https://wpln.org/post/ikea-pilots-first-us-pickup-point-in-nashville/?fbclid=IwAR2I8b7L8bFNNdTFkdu_wL1tf3-jmmccPlponBLVNCLpMWgF3GgaNI1h1xE
  8. Totally agreed on all counts. Spicy ketchup and burgers for breakfast aren't enough to make up for just a very mediocre fast food joint. I'll drive by a dozen Whataburgers to eat at someplace like Culver's, Back Yard Burger, or Five Guys.
  9. I've got to say it: Whataburger is the single most overrated hamburger joint in the history of overrated hamburger joints. I just don't understand the hype. It's like Sonic but with indoor seating. Why is there such a cult following? Is it because it's from Texas? Because it can't be because the food is so much better than any other fast food hamburger joint.
  10. That picture would look so much better to me if those rails were part of some sort of mass transit network. Seems like such a waste otherwise.
  11. And Chattanooga came in 5th among mid-sized metros.
  12. I guess you missed the part where I said, "And there have been just as many locally-owned restaurants open during the last few months..." In fact, it's almost twice as many locally-owned restaurants as chain restaurants. Here they are (the ones I'm familiar with): Toki Ramen and Poke Bowl Hardwoods Smokehouse Pho Kitchen Lay Thai Hometown Hot Chicken Taco Spot 11 Oak Nutrition Baxter Nutrition Spring Street Nutrition The Food Spot and Grill Juicy's Wellness Cafe Green Life Big D's Soul Food Lounge Roots Coffee Red House Coffee El Jimador Taqueria and Grill Lone Star Smoked Meats Tacos El Rey The Slice Pizza and Games Panaderia Pan de Mi Tierra Sparky's Sweet Shoppe Heavenly Bites Black Sheep Italian Sodas La Marquensita Taqueria Don Carbón Express That makes just under 40 restaurants/eateries that have opened or are about to open in Cookeville in less than a year. Not bad for a small town.
  13. The best thing to come out of Austin just announced it's expanding to Cookeville. Chuy's is being built between Olive Garden and Raising Cane's and plans for a summer 2022 opening. For those keeping track, this is now the 13th chain restaurant to either open or announce an opening in Cookeville in just the last few months: Chuy's (announced) Domino's (South Jefferson, just opened, Cookeville's 2nd Domino's) Einstein Bros. Bagels (just opened) Hardee's on Hwy 111 (under construction - will be Cookeville's 3rd Hardee's) Moe's Southwest Grill (announced) Penn Station (under construction) Raising Cane's (under construction) Sbarro (under construction) Starbucks on Willow (just opened) Starbucks on 10th (under construction - will be Cookeville's 4th Starbucks) Taco Bell (Baxter, under construction, will be the area's 5th Taco Bell, not sure if that's something to be proud of) Texas Roadhouse (just opened) And a mystery fast food place in the new shopping center on 10th Street which appears in their site plan and looks like a Chick-fil-A with its signature double drive-thru And there have been just as many locally-owned restaurants open during the last few months, including my new favorite which has Halal dishes such as lamb gyros and a variety of ways of serving falafel. In other news, the city's economic development coordinator said her office has received more RFIs (Request for Information) from prospective manufacturers in the last 12 weeks than in all of 2019 and 2020. So things are looking pretty good up here in the Cookeville area.
  14. BJ's Wholesale Club is going to open one of its warehouse stores in Mount Juliet. It will be located in the Providence Central development which will be on the south side of I-40 between Mt Juliet Rd and Central Pike. https://fox17.com/news/local/bjs-wholesale-club-submits-plans-to-open-store-in-mt-juliet-wholesaler-shopping-retail-sams-club-costco-gas
  15. There are lots of French companies in Middle Tennessee. Each diamond represents a French-owned company, from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development And a video by TDECD to lure French companies to Tennessee: https://tnecd.com/france/
  16. If you've been to Bridgestone the last couple of weeks you might've noticed some big red vending machines outside. They're called Giving Machines, and Nashville is one of just 10 cities to have them this year, and one of only two cities east of the Mississippi (NYC is the other). One hundred percent of what you give goes directly to the charities involved, and the sponsor of the Giving Machines (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will even cover your credit card fees. There are five local charities: ABLE Youth - supports children and young adults who are wheelchair bound Elmahaba Center - a cultural community center for Nashville's immigrant communities, particularly Nashville's large Kurdish and Coptic communities. Nashville International Center for Empowerment (N.I.C.E.) - provides education, resettlement, health, employment, and immigration services for the thousands of international refugees in Nashville. One Generation Away - started in 2013 out of a couple's car, One Generation now provides 4.4 million meals a year to needy Middle Tennesseans and in three other states. Sleep in Heavenly Peace - a volunteer organization that builds beds for kids who otherwise would sleep on floors. The global charities are UNICEF and CARE. Items are as cheap as $2 or as expensive as a couple hundred. Again, 100% of the money goes to the charities. https://www.wkrn.com/news/help-someone-in-need-with-a-giving-machine/ https://www.wsmv.com/today_in_nashville/giving-machines-nashville-sponsored-by-the-giving-machines-nashville---a-unique-way-to/video_ed93a6e5-1eb9-51ca-992c-1e596e9e3c69.html Some of the items in the machines: https://www.givingmachinesnashville.org/
  17. Capgemini, a multinational IT consulting conglomerate based in Paris, is bringing up to 1000 jobs, with a minimum of 500, to Broadwest. https://fox17.com/news/local/global-it-company-based-in-france-opening-nashville-location-investing-20-million-development-tennessee-capgemini I have zero inside information on what kinds of IT jobs are part of this, but interestingly, in June 2021 Capgemini launched Future4Care, a European start-up focused on digital healthcare. Nashville=healthcare.
  18. I'd heard that the Infinite Entertainment thing was at least on hiatus, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was dead. Or maybe it's on hold until they sell the land they'd originally bought for it (SE corner of Walnut & Veterans). As for the Habitat restore moving, that wouldn't surprise me, either although I can't imagine that they would need the entire Kmart building but maybe they would. They certainly need more space than they have on 15th. The old Kmart shopping center was bought for $4.4 million just before the pandemic (Feb 2020) and, other than the Kmart space itself, is pretty much back to being fully leased. I hope something happens to the Kmart building soon. It's such a blight on the local retail landscape. I noticed a couple of other prominent commercial properties in town have sold: the 9 acres on Jackson between Kohl's and Ollie's, and the 6 acres on Walnut/Neal where the old plantation house was torn down in the middle of the night a couple of years ago. Property records haven't been updated yet. Any idea who bought them and what the plans are? Or what's being built on either side of the new police station on Neal?
  19. The new Food City-anchored shopping center on 10th Street is coming along. Food City is pushing for an April 2022 opening, and they have workers on site 7 days/week so they'll probably make it. Some of the outparcels are now spoken for, and one of them looks suspiciously like it could be a Chick-fil-A with that famous Chick-fil-A double drive thru. Another looks to be a small bank with a couple of drive thru lanes. I'd never heard of Noire the Nail Bar, but apparently it's a pretty swank nail salon based out of Knoxville with a piano and wine bar. They have several locations in the Nashville area. A 147-unit housing development is proposed for the back side of "Shoney's Hill" between Neal St and Veterans Drive. It's a pretty steep slope, but a great location for a multi-family development. (Side note: the 29 acres on the west side of Shoney's Hill--where Firing Range Road is on the map--was just sold to another developer,)
  20. With its 100th season of football approaching in 2022, Tennessee Tech has announced plans for construction of a new state-of-the-art Football Operations Center. The 40,000-square-foot facility is phase one of a two-phase process to significantly upgrade and enhance the football program. The new facility will be located next to the current Athletics Performance Center, across the street from the Hooper Eblen Center. It will feature a contemporary team locker room, a theater-style team meeting room as well as individual meeting rooms for specific position groups, and coaches’ offices. Its Football Academic Success Center includes a computer lab, and the entire facility will be built with an emphasis on technology. The center will also serve as the primary sports medicine and athletics training facility for all 14 Tech athletic teams. There will also be a full length outdoor lighted practice field. In December, President Oldham will seek approval from the Tennessee Tech Board of Trustees for phase two, a complete renovation of the west side of Tucker Stadium. Plans call for a completely new west side of the stadium featuring all premium seating, suites and club level seats, a club level hospitality room, a new home team dressing room and a new entryway event plaza. https://www.ucbjournal.com/tennessee-tech-announces-new-construction-upgrades-to-football-facilities/
  21. Seriously. I'm not a fan of Dollar General, but I don't get all bent out of shape that DG has its HQ in Nashville (Goodlettsville).
  22. Speaking of Mt Juliet, does anyone know what's happening at the NW corner of Golden Bear Gateway/I-40? I drove by there today for the first time in a while, and that whole area has been cleared as if something is about to get built. It's a lot of land.
  23. There's a lot of infill going on in Cookeville, primarily townhouse developments springing up on vacant lots in town but also detached single family homes smooshed together on small lots. Obviously, it pales in comparison to what's going on in the Nashville area, but I doubt there's another town in the state that's not a suburb of a bigger city that has more developments going on right now. Here are some of the denser ones which, if I did my math correctly, comes to over 550 new homes in planned developments in the city announced in just the last few months. This does not include apartments or individual SFH not part of planned developments. Nor does it include the 500+ homes currently planned in several developments in little Baxter (pop. 1500) which is located just a couple of miles west of Cookeville. 121 detached homes on 33 acres on Shag Rag Road (love the name): 61 SFH homes on 31 acres on East Broad Street: 20 townhomes on 1.5 acres on 10th Street: 15 townhomes on 1 acre just off Willow Ave: 4 33 townhouses on 1.5 acres on East Spring Street: 19 townhouses on 2.5 acres on East Spring Street: 19 townhouses on 1.5 acres on 10th Street: 41 SFH on 17 acres on Cora Road: 63 units on 4 acres on North Washington Ave: 41 SFH on 11 acres on Buffalo Valley Road: 8 lots on 1 acre on West Broad Street: 8 lots on 3/4 acre on South Jefferson Ave: 7 detached homes on 1.9 acres on 10th Street: 5 townhouses on a half acre lot on 10th Street: No site plan for this one which was just approved by the city planning commission: 92 townhomes on 12 acres on Salem Church Road:
  24. I absolutely agree. Publix bakery is excellent, and Publix store-brand products (especially their ice cream!) are a huge leap better than FC/Kroger. Before Publix came to Knoxville, I knew people who would drive from Knoxville to Chattanooga just to order cakes from the Publix bakery in Ooltewah (Cleveland's Publix hadn't opened yet). And the Publix deli is second to none. Publix also does a really good job carrying more higher-end products like chocolates, cheeses, pre-made meals, etc. I hope Food City has taken a page from the Publix playbook on how to lure more upscale customers beyond the bakery.
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