| January 23, 2006 -
Five Points Plaza developer LeRoy Thompson plans a joint venture with
a familiar name. Thompson will partner with Norman Wright of the Cox
& Wright family to operate the Village Plaza grocery store in
Thompson's BDT Development & Management LLC, as majority owner
of the Village Plaza, recruited the family-owned Cox & Wright
Food Center to operate the grocery store as a joint venture with his
company. The firms are buying out the interest of D&W LLC, which
was to have been a joint venture of John Davis and Jim Woods.
"We have all worked very hard to see this project through, and
I'm committed to completing this project and running a successful
community-based grocery store," said LeRoy Thompson, president
of BDT Development & Management. "We are focused on getting
the doors open as quickly as possible."
John Davis, and his wife, Pilar, which had operated the Express Mart
on the site, were among those who sold their property to Knoxville's
Community Development Corporation for the redevelopment project.
Mr. Davis partnered with Jim Woods, president of the grocery chain
Smith and Woods, to operate the grocery store. Mr. Woods was to
provide initial working captial and management expertise. Woods
notified the City of Knoxvile and Davis that financial and health
issues prevented Mr. Woods from continuing with the project.
"I am disappointed that I have had to end my involvement in
this project, but I simply had no choice," Mr. Davis said.
"I did not have the financial backing or the management expertise
to do this project alone.
"I want the people of East Knoxville, and the Five Points
area in particular, to know that I believe in them and I believe
in that neighborhood," he added. "I appreciate LeRoy stepping
up to make this additional investment in our community, and am confident
this shopping center will be a success."
In addition to BDT, funding for the $6 million Five Points project
comes from the City of Knoxville, federal Empowerment Zone funds,
Knox County, the Partnership for Neighborhood Improvement, and KUB.
"Our first goal in supporting this project has been to create
a community grocery store that provides quality service, specialized
products and creates employment opportunities," said Renee
Kesler, the City's director of community development. "Secondly,
we wanted to encourage strong minority participation and ownership
in the project. I believe this new agreement will accomplish both
Completion of the 20,000-square-foot grocery store is continuing
and the store is expected to open in six to eight weeks, pending
various regulatory approvals.
The center also includes 12,000 square feet of retail space. Tenants
include Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, J-R's House of Fashion and a
Knox County Clerk's satellite office, as well as other small shops.