Margaritaville wasted in Gatlinburg

Developers abandon plans for themed restaurant
Nov. 17, 2012 @ 05:16 PM

In a recent turn of events, it has been confirmed that the site that had been approved for a Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafe at 805 Parkway will no longer contain a Margaritaville restaurant.

Thursday night, the Gatlinburg Municipal Regional Planning Commission considered a new request submitted by 805 Parkway Partners for the commercial site.

Local developer Ned Vickers said the property will be the site for a retail store, but Vickers did not give further details.

"We are no longer in discussions with Margaritaville Holdings for that property," Vickers said.

According to Vickers, the commission had already approved the site several times, but the plans have changed again.

After the Midtown Lodge was demolished at the site, local developers originally had hoped to build a chairlift at the location. City commissioners, however, denied the idea earlier this year after refusing to give the project use of city right of way.

The site plan for Margaritaville first appeared on the commission's agenda a few months ago, and the plan was approved in August. Officials from Margaritaville Holdings, LLC previously told The Mountain Press that Gatlinburg is "definitely a market we're interested in coming to."

Pigeon Forge, however, may be of more interest to the company now that the liquor-by-the-drink referendum has passed. Speculation indicated that the company would make the jump to Pigeon Forge if the referendum passed, but officials from Margaritaville Holdings, LLC could not be reached by phone and did not return e-mails to comment.

Plans for the single-story, 13,000-square foot building included the Margaritaville restaurant and an attached Margaritaville retail store. Vickers said the entire building will now be a retail store, though not a Margaritaville retail store.

A parking garage has also been constructed on the property.