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Fed Ex Ground considering Kingsport site

Sharon Caskey Hayes • Aug 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Fed Ex Ground is considering locating a distribution center at Gateway Commerce Park — a project that could generate new jobs and capital investment in Kingsport.

The Kingsport Regional Planning Commission will consider a zoning development plan for the proposed distribution center at its meeting on Thursday.

According to a Planning Commission memorandum, the proposed Fed Ex Ground facility would cover nearly 13 acres of land inside the park, located at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 26. Of the 166-acre park, only about 55 acres are suitable for development.

NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership owns Gateway Commerce Park and has been marketing the land for development. NETWORKS Chief Executive Officer Richard Venable said the proposed Fed Ex facility is “not a done deal.”

“As of right now, we don’t have anything legal. We just have a proposal that this is a piece of land that they’re looking at,” Venable said.

NETWORKS Business Development Director Betty Martin confirmed Monday that she has worked with a consultant on the project for more than a year and a half.

“Hopefully, things will work out,” Martin said. “It would be a great first tenant to have in that park. And once the first tenant moves in, that’s likely to spur more activity at the site.”

Martin said she was told the project could mean an initial 80 jobs and an investment in excess of $6 million.

According to the Planning Commission memorandum, the proposed Fed Ex Ground facility would total 89,661 square feet with room for expansion, while the property would include 119 parking spaces with room for another 33 parking spaces should an expansion occur in the future.

The plan also calls for 21 loading docks for tractor-trailers and a perimeter road around the building to accommodate truck traffic.

The proposed grading plan has been submitted for review and approval to the city’s engineering department and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The city’s staff is requesting the Planning Commission’s approval of the plan contingent on the developers obtaining grading and storm drainage approval from the city and TDEC.

The proposed zoning development plan is being presented by Tim Elam, representing Scannell Properties for Fed Ex Ground.

NETWORKS recently acquired Gateway Commerce Park from the Kingsport Economic Development Board and local developers Andy Brooks and Jerry Petzoldt.

Although it sold the property, the KEDB still has a big stake in the land. According to a deal struck with the state of Tennessee several years ago, the park must generate at least $5.5 million in new capital investment and 100 new jobs, or a $3.3 million annual payroll by November 2007.

If that criteria is not met by the deadline, KEDB will have to pay the state $1.6 million for an access road built by the Tennessee Department of Transportation three years ago to open up the site for development.

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