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Deal done on Supermarket Row site

Hank Hayes • Oct 23, 2017 at 6:00 PM

KINGSPORT — A Georgia-based firm has closed on an old fire-damaged Supermarket Row site slated to be developed as an upscale apartment complex.

Kingsport Economic Development Board (KEDB) Chairman Bill Dudney confirmed on Monday the site has been sold to Suwanee, Ga.-based Crossgate Partners LLC for about $1.9 million minus approximately $190,000 in so-called “debits,” including a $100,000 infrastructure credit given to Crossgate due to site issues.

“We’ve received the funds from the buyer, and of course KEDB will retire the debt on the property,” Dudney said. “(Crossgate Partners) will begin its next moves to begin construction and build the apartment complex. … That’s a very good thing for Kingsport and the taxpayers of Kingsport.”

A July 3 contract deadline for Crossgate to close on the Sullivan Street property had passed, but the two sides continued talking. KEDB had given Crossgate an end-of-the-month deadline to close.

Crossgate Managing Director Randy Moore said last year his firm planned Town Park Lofts, a four-story building with a variety of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with floor plans varying from 720 to 1,250 square feet with minimum 9-foot ceilings.

City Manager Jeff Fleming, in an email, said he appreciated the developer’s persistence and willingness to invest in Kingsport when there are so many other possibilities nationwide.

“After five years of effort and seemingly insurmountable challenges, this project is a testament to the power of persistence,” Fleming noted. “Downtown housing was a goal set years ago — to get consumers living and spending in Kingsport.”

The project summary also called for a resort-style pool, clubhouse, fitness center, secure access, Wi-Fi connectivity, designer kitchens with granite countertops and 8,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The building design called for entrances off Sullivan and Press streets.

Rents at the Town Park Lofts, Moore said last year, were expected to range from $900 to $1,300 per month.

The city of Kingsport had projected the deal’s total economic impact at $48.3 million, including a $1.7 million retail impact. The city estimated it would create more than 400 jobs.

A city document also pointed out millennials prefer to live in the type of mixed-use communities where they can be close to shops, restaurants and offices.

The deal has been worked on since 2012, when the Model City Coalition identified a need for upscale housing. That same year, the KEDB secured a loan to purchase the Supermarket Row site for $1.77 million. The next year, an apartment feasibility study indicated a demand for 250 units at the site. Then, in 2014, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen changed the site’s zoning to accommodate high-density apartments.

Fleming pointed out “infill housing” — with higher densities — is even more important now that annexation and outward expansion are severely restricted.

“I sincerely appreciate the support of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, (Kingsport) Economic Development Board, chamber and city staff in seeing it through,” Fleming said of the deal.

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