The Kingsport Regional Planning Commission voted during its regular meeting Thursday night to recommend a large portion of the old Pet Dairy facility be declared surplus. The measure will now go before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for consideration and if approved, the building would likely be available for sale.
After more than 50 years in operation, Dean Foods of Dallas closed the Pet Dairy plant in September 2009 and held an auction for the facility’s equipment in August 2010. At the time, Kingsport officials worked with Dean Foods to find a suitable business to locate within the building. However, with no takers, Kingsport eventually purchased the building in December 2011 for $250,000.
“We have tried to informally market the building, show it to people ... anyone we thought might be interested,” said Ryan McReynolds, public works director for the city.
The five-acre property includes the main, three-story office-type building, a sales office, and maintenance area along with receiving bays and warehouse space. The facility is adjacent to the city’s water/sewer maintenance building and is a short distance from the city’s water plant.
What’s being recommended for surplus status is the main office building, the sales office, receiving bays and warehouse space. No city department determined a need for this space. However, one portion of the property will be used as Kingsport intends to relocate the city’s traffic division to the maintenance building.
In fact, the city has spent around $100,000 on renovations to the maintenance building and is in the process of a second round of improvements to the building, costing an estimated $175,000. Renovations will ultimately include some roof repair, new windows and entry doors, office space construction, new electrical and mechanical work and final finishings.
Kingsport’s traffic division includes approximately 15 employees with such equipment and material as street signs, paint machines, a paint truck and bucket trucks, the city’s Christmas decorations and various banners hung throughout the city.
McReynolds said the city did not spend any money on the buildings recommended for surplus.
“We don’t see that there’s a good city use for the building right now and we wanted to get this hurdle out of the way,” McReynolds said. “We’d rather it be back on the tax rolls.”
Kingsport hopes to have the traffic division moved into the building by the end of the year.