We began what we hope will be our award winning tour of business parks with Smyrna’s, mainly because it is closest. And we did what we’ve always done — called John Black, the park’s executive director, and asked for an interview.
“Where would the article appear?” he asked.
“In my blog.”
“What’s the web address. I’d have to read your blog first before deciding whether to give an interview.”
“Well, that’s the end of that,” I thought as I hung up the phone. Maybe the blog should have been a little less cheeky and more dignified. It’s too late now.”
* * *
I haven’t heard from him yet. This business parks roadshow is turning out to be more difficult than I had imagined.So what you get are ideas I have pulled together from the Internet and my personal impressions from driving and walking around the site. If along the way something got lost or it’s dull, I apologize.
The park is located around the airport and behind the Smyrna Golf Course. The first thing you notice is that the city has placed this business park well away from homes. A big recreation area is located across Sam Ridley Parkway. You turn down Threet Industrial Road.
Where the pilots in “12 O’Clock High” learned their craft.
The airport began as an air base in 1942 where the Air Force trained crews to fly B-17 and B-24 four-engined bombers. The Air Force closed the base in the 1970s and returned the airfield to private use. With 1,700 acres and an 8,000 foot main runway, it is the third largest airport in Tennessee. Currently the airport, the busiest general aviation facility in the state, operates 22 hangars.
Come here and have your market at your fingertips.
The park uses the airport as its chief marketing tool, noting that a company can locate here and be only a few steps away from its aircraft. The airport’s terminal itself is 15,000 square feet in area. Anyone locating here will be within 700 miles of 80% of the U.S. population.
The business park itself has more than 400 acres. “Open Skies, open land, Big enough to land a 747,” the airport’s website proclaims. “Bold enough to be the best corporate relocation site in the Southeast.”
The concept design looks funcional
The business park website has a concept plan that shows a cluster of nine hangar-like buildings with a neatly landscaped strip down the middle. When I visited there was a lot of construction activity going on but nothing that I could find resembled the concept plan yet.
The airport authority is located in a brick building off Threet Industrial Road. The other buildings around it are metal. To the left of the brick building is the Smyrna Air Center, one of the airport’s two fixed-base operators. The center sells fuel, does maintenance and repair work on aircraft and installs custom-made avionic panels.
To the right of the airport authority is Corporate Flight Management, a charter airline, which offers passenger and freight service in the southern U.S.
Among the businesses across Threet Road are Estes Express Lines, a truck shipping company; United States Cold Storage, which offer refrigerated warehouses and transportation; and Lift One, which sells and rents forklifts and other equipment for warehouses. Nearby is Franke Foodservice Systems, which plans and installs kitchens for restaurants.
On the other side of the park is Molly Maids. a professional house cleaning service. Since there weren’t any Molly Maids in sight, we headed home. We wish Smyrna luck, but this wasn’t what we had in mind for Joe B. Jackson.