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Developer hopes to put in oyster bar at site of Jack's Restaurant

Sharon Hayes • Feb 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Economic Development Board is considering selling the former Jack’s Restaurant property on Main Street to a local developer who hopes to build a new oyster bar at the site.

KEDB Chairman Bob Feathers said during the group’s monthly meeting Tuesday that he had received a letter from Robert Thompson asking KEDB to consider selling him the land at 808 E. Main St.

Last year KEDB purchased the property for $143,167.

The board had planned to lease it for $2,500 a month to Thompson and his daughter, Crystal Stone.

Larry Estepp, former chairman of KEDB, said Thompson plans to make a substantial investment of about $200,000 to establish an oyster bar at the site.

“And it’s hard to encourage someone to make a substantial investment on a short-term lease,” said KEDB attorney Gorman Waddell.

The property, appraised at $210,000, sits next to the old Kingsport Foundry site.

KEDB officials have been in contact with the owner of the foundry property about possibly purchasing the land.

Last year, KEDB purchased the old Quillen-Mullins site, known as the Glutz property, behind the foundry for $85,000.

The city is considering several options for the redevelopment of the area.

“I don’t know that it (selling the restaurant site) would keep us from doing anything with the balance of the property,” said KEDB Treasurer Bill Dudney.

The board decided to defer the issue to its asset management committee for consideration. That committee will report back to KEDB at a later date.

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