Officials celebrate groundbreaking of new retail development

It’s been more than four years since the eagerly-anticipated Shoppes at Eagle Point was first discussed.

Tuesday afternoon, city and county leaders, along with the developers, gathered for the official groundbreaking, even though work on the project on Interstate Drive began more than a month ago.

“This is a perfect example of teamwork, tenacity and commitment,” Melinda Keifer, economic development coordinator with the City of Cookeville, said.

The project, which has an anticipated opening date of fall 2018, includes anchors Publix grocery store and Academy Sports + Outdoors, along with PetSmart, Panera Bread, Chipotle, Shoe Carnival, Five Below, Ulta Cosmetics and Ross Dress for Less.

More stores and restaurants will be announced as the leases are finalized.

“Seeing a complex development like this is similar to nailing a game winning drive,” Mike McGuffin with CHM developers said. “Everyone has been outstanding teammates.”

It is anticipated to create 600 new jobs and bring $2.4 million annually in sales tax revenue.

“Great things come to those who wait and this shows how much can be accomplished with a lot of patience,” Putnam County Executive Randy Porter said. “This will give us more success in the future.”

Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton said this is a win-win for everyone.

“It’s the perfect combination of commerce and conservation,” he said. “It’s ironic that this project was delayed by a conservation issue, but it turned into the preservation of 40 acres of wetlands that will be enhanced.”

Everyone thanked the developers for sticking with the project, even with all the delays.

“We made a commitment to our community to give them less and less reason to leave the area and region (to shop),” George Halford, Chamber president, said. “We find ways to win and we find those ways as a team.”