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I recently wrote about new chain restaurants heading to the Clarksville Commons shopping center on Madison Street. We also discovered the former Demos’ restaurant building off Wilma Rudolph Boulevard has been sold.
Any business development during a pandemic is great news. It shows that someone out there is still willing to invest in our community.
Once all of this is over, we’ll get back to full-scale business activity — and for Clarksville, “full-scale” will likely mean “big” and “robust.”
In December, we learned through the Clarksville Building Codes Department that Panda Express and Chipotle Mexican Grill are coming to the Clarksville Commons outlet, next to Wendy’s.
This shopping center is remembered by local residents as the former Madison Street Kmart location. It has received a makeover, including the addition of several discount outlet stores.
David Smith, Clarksville’s Building Codes director, said Panda Express has received its building permit for Clarksville Commons, while Chipotle has submitted construction plans to city officials.
They will be fronting the new Marshalls, Ross, Burke’s Outlet, Rack Room Shoes and Planet Fitness. The shopping center has been redeveloped and reinvigorated by the Chattanooga firm, Rise Partners.
This will be the second Clarksville location for Panda Express and Chipotle. Panda Express has a restaurant at 3073 Wilma Rudolph Blvd., and Chipotle can also be found at 625 Kennedy Lane — both near Interstate 24, Exit 4.
There has also been talk of a second Clarksville Panera Bread location. But at this point, it’s just talk.
Months ago, there were indications through the Regional Planning Commission that Panera, currently with a location near Exit 4, would also join Clarksville Commons with a second store, but for now, Smith said Panera is “off the radar.”
Across town, Demos’ will become Drake’s restaurant sometime during the first half of this year. The new eatery will reside in the currently vacant building at 120 S. Hampton Place, next to Buffalo Wild Wings and across from the Kohl’s shopping center.
Smith said Drake’s — part of Bluegrass Hospitality Group, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky — has a $1.2 million permit to renovate the restaurant structure that was originally built a few years ago for the well-known middle Tennessee restaurant chain, Demos’.
Drake’s specializes in a selection of steaks, burgers and sandwiches, fish, chicken, quesadillas, salads, sushi and more. Its drink menu is highlighted by craft beers and cocktails. Currently, the Drake’s location closest to Clarksville is in Franklin’s Cool Springs.
On top of all of this, grocery wars continue. Publix is further staking its claim in our market, recently confirming plans to construct a fourth Clarksville grocery store at the southwest corner of 101st Airborne Division Parkway and Trenton Road. The company has executed a lease for that location.
Clarksville is priming itself for much more retail development, even amid the COVID outbreak. We’re seeing development fill in areas of the city limits that have sat vacant, and that is what retail investors want to see. They want that population density that, for them, equates to future clientele.
They also want the household disposable income to be there, and according to the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council, our average household, and average personal incomes in Clarksville remain on the rise — slowly, but steadily.
The average, annual personal income figure for Montgomery County is now at $43,028. The average median household income now stands at $56,948.
Our countywide population is heading toward the 250,000 mark. Opinions on what stores and restaurants we need in Clarksville may double that figure.