Over the past three years the City of Kingsport has enhanced its economic development efforts in a variety of ways. The city established a full-time economic development office, created databases of existing and available properties and worked with developers, brokers, property owners and businesses on various projects across the Model City.
All of this effort and preparation is starting to pay dividends – home construction is at an all-time high, relationships are stronger with developers and a number of high profile projects are progressing well.
On the retail front, three new stores have opened at the Kingsport Pavilion (Maurice’s, Bath & Body Works and Milan), a retailer is looking to locate in the Greenacres shopping center and the Ashley Homestore is expanding its footprint in Kingsport and is expected to relocate from East Stone Commons to the old Best Buy building on Stone Drive.
Hull Properties has invested more than $5 million into the Fort Henry Mall since purchasing it and there are currently five active projects in the works for the property. One would renovate the old JC Penny space, two adds square footage to the mall and two others involve developing outparcels near Fort Henry Drive.
“Hull Properties is working diligently and is committed to seeing the mall get the proper tenants for Kingsport,” said John Rose, economic development director for the city. “Hull is actively reaching out and working with tenants on a daily basis.”
Kingsport has more than 30 mixed use centers (locations with two or more units) across town. There are at least 246 units in these centers with an occupancy rate of 91%.
Outreach has become a major focus of Kingsport’s economic development office in recent years, with staff planning to hold a business park roundtable in April and creating a retail center database. This database allows staff to response to inquiries faster, grow relationships with developers and owners and strengthen communication with brokers.
In the downtown area, current full renovation projects include Pappy’s, the Kingsport Grocery building and the Citizens Supply building. Projects in the conceptual stage include a commercial redevelopment project on New Street and the renovation of the Dobyns-Taylor Warehouse.
Finally, three large parcels and one small lot along Airport Parkway are under contract, 34 Centennial Row townhomes are expected to be under construction starting in July and the developer for the Brickyard property is proposing to increase the number of units in the development from 386 to 442.
This information was presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen during a day-long, strategic planning session held Monday (March 20) at city hall. The BMA heard updates from staff on the city’s finances, economic development efforts and budget priorities for the coming year.
To view the presentations from the strategic planning session, click here.