What's missing? Kingsport demolishes four downtown buildings

Matthew Lane • Jan 28, 2018 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — If you’ve driven through downtown recently, you may have noticed some demolition work taking place along Center Street and Main Street.

Here’s what happened. Four structures were demolished at three locations: the old Citizens Supply building on Main Street; the Ward’s Feed Store building on Revere Street; and a service station and garage at the corner of Center and Clinchfield.

By the numbers

— The Kingsport Economic Development Board owns all three properties.

— Citizens Supply was purchased for $510,000; Ward’s Feed Store for $160,000; and the service station for $350,000.

— According to Chris McCartt, assistant city manager for administration, the cost to demolish all four buildings was $80,000.

Citizens Supply

“We just cleared it out for the liability,” McCartt said. “People were vandalizing the property, getting into it, and we just felt like the risk was not worth retaining those buildings.”

McCartt said the plan moving forward is to first determine if there’s a public use for any or all of the Citizens Supply property and, if not, to put the property back on the tax rolls. Basically, the demolition took place to set the property up for redevelopment.

Ward’s Feed Store

Kingsport has owned the Ward’s Feed Store property for more than five years. It came into the city’s possession following a dispute over the value of another piece of property owned by the Ward family near the Netherland Inn roundabout.

The building was in desperate need of repair, and the decision was made that it just had to come down, McCartt said.

“We looked at several options for the reuse of that property, a lot of things associated with the Academic Village were being considered. Several options were presented, but nothing ever really came to fruition,” McCartt said.

As it stands now, the property will likely be used for parking for the Academic Village in the short term. In the future, it could be used as a site for another higher education facility, McCartt said.

Center & Clinchfield

Parking in downtown is tight at the moment, and as the city sees growth in the Academic Village — not just with Northeast State but also with ETSU — more parking will naturally be needed. Growth is on the horizon, and Kingsport needs to be sure it can accommodate it, McCartt said.

That’s why the service station property at the corner of Center and Clinchfield is also slated to be used for parking come the next fiscal year (after July 1).

“Going back several years, we knew long term we would need to look at expanding our parking and setting ourselves up if there were additional buildings built within the Academic Village. We knew we had to have the appropriate space to accommodate that,” McCartt said.

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