This article was originally published on timesfreepress.com.
With nearly 200 homes built atop Jasper Mountain over the past six years — and plans to add more than 1,000 additional new houses in the future along the Cumberland Plateau community — Jasper Highlands is adding a commercial component to its growing community this year with the addition of a general store, wellness center and restaurant.
John "Thunder" Thornton, who acquired Jasper Mountain in Marion County in 2008 and is developing the gated, mountaintop community, said the newest additions are being built to serve both Jasper Highlands residents and the surrounding community.
Construction is underway on a new 4,300-square-foot wellness center, which will be operated by Forte Fitness and should open by March. Groundwork is also underway for a new general store and restaurant, scheduled to open by this fall. The store and restaurant will be open with different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and will be operated by SquareOne Holdings, which runs Stir and State of Confusion on Chattanooga's Southside along with a half dozen other restaurants across the Southeast.
The new development is called The Village and will be located just outside the gated community atop Jasper Mountain, offering scenic views, fine dining and retail and exercise options for both visitors and residents on the mountain.
"The Village will expand our exceptional amenities for residents, while providing a unique destination for visitors and an unforgettable dining experience above the clouds," Thornton said Thursday. "By adding a wellness center, restaurant and general store, we're increasing our investment in Marion County and extending our mountaintop experience to people throughout the county and beyond. When the restaurant opens later next year, we'll have about 300 people living at Jasper Highlands, and The Village will be a significant gathering place for our community."
Allen Corey, former CEO of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc. who started SquareOne Holdings seven years ago, said he is still developing the new restaurant concept. But he said it will feature a unique, made-from-scratch, fresh food menu in a fine-dining atmosphere overlooking the Tennessee River from the 2,000-foot high bluff at the entrance to Jasper Highlands.
"We're taking advantage of the spectacular view and we will design the store and restaurant to be part of the Village and to be a place with different options for breakfast, lunch and dinner along with special events," he said. "The restaurant at The Village will offer an experience unlike anything in the area and will significantly enhance dining options in Jasper and the surrounding community."
The Village connects over a pedestrian bridge with the Pat Summit pavilion and park and is near four rental cabins built for visitors to Jasper Highlands.
Dane Bradshaw, president of Jasper Highlands, said the store, wellness center and restaurant will add some of the most requested amenities sought by those who have moved into Jasper Highlands since it opened in 2012 and by other residents in the area.
"The timing is really appropriate now with the growing population we now have," Bradshaw said.
Marion County voters last November approved liquor-by-the-drink for the first time outside of South Pittsburg, Jasper and Kimball, opening the way for the new restaurant and bar. Bradshaw said he expects the new restaurant will draw many more people to Jasper Mountain.
"Chattanooga is known as the scenic city, but there are not any restaurants with a view like this," Bradshaw said Thursday while standing on the bluff of Jasper Mountain where the new restaurant and general store will be built this summer.
Jasper Highlands is located about 30 miles west of Chattanooga just off Interstate 24, making the restaurant a destination for diners from Chattanooga as well as travelers passing through the area. The general store, which will be open every day, will offer gifts, mementos and staple goods.
With a membership, Marion County residents will be able to join the wellness center, which will feature free weights, treadmills, cardio equipment, bikes and row machines as well as lockers and showers. Forte Fitness will lead personal training sessions and classes like spinning and yoga.
The residents in Jasper Highlands, who pay yearly home ownership dues of $720 a year for their own amenities such as a swimming pool, pavilion, gazebo and parks, will also have to pay membership dues for the wellness center if they decide to join.
Eventually, the 8,893-acre development along the Cumberland Plateau is expected to include more than 1,600 residential lots. But most of the home sites will have at least a couple of acres and nearly half of the overall property is being set aside for land conservation, Thornton said.
Jasper Highlands features more than 21 miles of bluff-top views and is 10 times larger than the size of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. When fully developed, Jasper Highlands is expected to bring more than $500 million of investment to Marion County as one of the largest gated mountaintop communities in the South.
Jasper Mountain overlooks the Tennessee River on one side, Fiery Gizzard on another and the Sequatchie valley in another direction and includes several waterfalls, ponds, streams and three shared parks and gathering areas.
So far, Bradshaw said 760 lots have been platted, 670 lots sold and nearly 200 homes are completed with dozens now being designed or built.
"We think 2019 is going to be a spectacular year for us," Thornton said. "Mortgage rates have low, the economy is strong and people can really see the great value and community we offer here."
Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or at 757-6340