KINGSPORT - Another blue supercenter is opening in the Model City. And no, it's not Wal-Mart.
Lowe's officially announced this week plans to build a new home improvement store between the Wal-Mart Supercenter and Dermatology Associates on Stone Drive - between Granby Drive and Deneen Lane.
According to company officials, the new store will include 117,000 square feet of retail space and a 31,650-square-foot garden center. The new store will cost approximately $18.5 million and bring 175 new jobs to the Model City.
Lowe's also plans to build one outparcel on the site, though no tenant exists at this time.
Mayor Dennis Phillips called the announcement a signal that Lowe's has confidence in Kingsport's housing market.
"(Lowe's) has confidence in the future of Kingsport," Phillips said. "With the things we're talking about doing, like the higher education center and Kingsport Pavilion, I think the positive image and attitude that we're projecting ... I think Kingsporters are starting to feel good about themselves, that the city can move forward."
Company officials say the new store would open in the fall of 2007.
Lowe's East Stone Drive location will remain open, and the company is estimating that 15 percent to 19 percent of sales at its current location will be shifted to this new store.
Word of this new store first came to light in the summer of 2006 when Kingsport and Lowe's were working out an agreement where the city would sell the company 3.5 acres of land on the Hunter Wright Stadium property.
This strip of land is located on the back of the proposed development and is needed in order for the new store to fit on the site in compliance with city setback requirements.
Lowe's, headquartered in Mooreville, N.C., has been in business since 1946 and is ranked 42 on the Fortune 500. The company operates more than 1,375 stores in 49 states. Lowe's is also planning on expanding its operations into Canada later this year and Mexico by 2009.