FedEx to break ground in Kingsport next month

Matthew Lane • Aug 16, 2007 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — FedEx Ground is planning to begin construction on a new 90,000-square-foot distribution center at Gateway Commerce Park next month and open for business by June 1, 2008.

The Kingsport Regional Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to approve the zoning development plan for the facility. The plan is expected to go before the Gateway Commission this morning for a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Tim Elam, a development associate with Scannell Properties of Indianapolis — the developers of the project — said construction on the $6 million facility would begin around the middle of September, with the facility slated to be open by June 1, 2008.

The 90,000-square-foot facility is being built on 13 acres of land in the Gateway Commerce Park, with plans existing for a 20,000-square-foot expansion. The plan also calls for 21 loading docks for tractor-trailers and a perimeter road around the building to accommodate truck traffic.

“FedEx is going through a tremendous growth spurt, so projections show the facility will be expanded within 10 years,” Elam said. “That is being planned right now.”

FedEx will hire approximately 75 employees initially for the new facility, and Elam said growth projections show that number could potentially double.

“But that’s all contingent on business owners in the community keeping package volumes growing,” he said.

The facility will receive 10 tractor- trailer trucks a day and process around 20,000 packages a day. Elam said the facility would essentially serve a 60- to 80-mile radius.

“A large population and density is where we locate facilities. FedEx takes packages from hubs and bring them into regional areas,” Elam said. “The Tri-Cities area is dense enough that it supports a pretty large facility.”

NETWORKS – Sullivan Partnership 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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