SEQUATCHIE VALLEY, Tenn.—Plans are underway in a scenic Tennessee county to create one of the world’s most unique and sought-after fly-in adventure resorts and residential communities. “It will be a haven for general aviation enthusiasts,” says Craig Fuller, a Chattanooga-based media entrepreneur who birthed the idea for the development.
Located just 30 miles northwest of metro Chattanooga and 90 miles southeast of Nashville, The Fields at Fall Creek will span 1,500 acres of breathtaking landscape that ranges from lush meadows and forests to rolling hills and mountain views. Groundbreaking will begin this spring, with some residents expected to move in as early as 2023.
When complete, The Fields will comprise 800 residential homes—many with hangars—180 vacation villa rentals, an outdoor adventure center, and, of course, its own paved runway.
Plans for the fly-in community developed from an entirely different idea, initially. In July 2021, Fuller, who is the founder and CEO of FreightWaves—the world’s leading supply chain intelligence and news platform for the global logistics industry—acquired and became CEO of FLYING Media Group. Both businesses are based in Chattanooga.
“When we acquired FLYING, we wanted to build a headquarters and media center connected to an airport. After talking to a number of the municipal airports around the area, we came up short and realized that the process would be bureaucratic and slow,” Fuller says. “We realized we would have to build our own airfield.”
Fuller, who is a pilot himself, was drawn to the natural beauty of the Sequatchie Valley.
“I have always loved flying through the valley. It feels almost magical to look off both sides of the airplane and see the cliffs of the Cumberland Plateau and Walden Ridge,” he says.
Finding a large, undeveloped family farm for sale in the Sequatchie Valley, Fuller realized he could create something much bigger than the business headquarters he first envisioned—a luxury fly-in resort and residential community that provides family experiences and outdoor adventures.
Initially, the community will cater to the piston pilot, with an emphasis on adventure and pleasure flying. A 4,200-foot privately owned runway will accommodate pistons and twin-turboprop airplanes. As the development grows, Fuller plans to expand the runway to accommodate larger and more powerful aircraft. Hangars will connect directly to taxiways, allowing residents to park their airplanes at their homes.
“The Fields will be a powerful pilot and avgeek community, with activities focused in and around the airfield,” Fuller says.
The CEO-turned-developer expects the development to ultimately become a world-class resort that blends aviation with outdoor adventure. “We have started with a focus on aviation to build the amenities and attract residents who have a desire to live with their airplanes. We took a lot of inspiration from Alpine Airpark in Wyoming at the foot of the Grand Tetons, which is considered the world’s finest airpark, and attracts affluent residents from all over the world who take advantage of outdoor activities in the Tetons.”
While Alpine is attractive as an inspiration, it is limited in onsite amenities. Fuller plans to develop a world-class resort in the valley, with a focus on outdoor activities and countryside living. “We have been inspired by some of the finest countryside resorts in the world, including Blackberry Farms, Brush Creek, and Primland,” Fuller says.
The high-end luxury homes will feature a modern farm-style aesthetic to reflect and honor the traditions of the area in which the community is located. The initial phase will develop 99 homes with aircraft hangars ranging from 1,500 square feet to 4,000 square feet, all with direct runway access. The airfield, community center, pool, playground, and nearby light-retail and commercial properties will also be developed during Phase I. There are also plans for a high-end craft farm-to-table restaurant and grocery store.
Residents will benefit from the state of Tennessee’s tax-friendly environment (no state income tax or capital gains tax). And Bledsoe County, where the community is located, has one of the lowest tax rates in Tennessee, and therefore, the country, Fuller says.
Another benefit: The Fields is located in class-G uncontrolled airspace and will offer the only paved airport within 30 miles, relieving its resident-pilots from the hassles of dealing with air traffic control and airspace congestion.
The Fields’ property is so expansive—larger than New York’s Central Park—that it can host a number of special interest areas to create a more inclusive development that will appeal to more than just the pilot in the family.
The development will take advantage of the myriad natural features that make this area of the country a destination for outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. As part of the plan, several hundred acres at The Fields will be turned into conservation easement and reserved for outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, ropes courses, and four-wheeling/off road.
“Parts of the rear section of the property aren’t ideal for homes but have some topographic features ideal for a luxury 4×4 adventure park for residents,” Fuller says. Because the development includes both valley and mountain, there are rock faces off the side of the Cumberland plateau that are on property offering some of the most compelling rock climbing in the region.
Long-term plans include developing an equestrian center with boarding and trails.
About the Fields
Located in the Sequatchie Valley, Tennessee, near the city of Dunlap (30 miles northwest of Chattanooga and 90 miles southeast of Nashville), The Fields at Fall Creek is a unique fly-in resort and residential community. With groundbreaking set for summer 2022 and move-in as early as 2023, The Fields will offer:
• A 4,200-ft. runway
• Valley and mountain properties suitable for smaller homes or large estates
• Farm-to-table restaurants, light retail, spa, and resort
• Outdoor activities including: rock climbing, equestrian activities, vineyard/winery, 4×4, hang gliding, kayaking, plus boating, and water sports on nearby lakes (totaling 500,000 acres of waterways)