Ralph's Bar and Grill is closing to make way for a Walgreens and other develepmont. Also closing is Christ the King Motel, while Kingsport Transmissions is moving to a nearby location on Stone Drive. Ned Jilton II photo.
KINGSPORT — Ralph’s Bar and Grill is having its “last call.”
The bar and neighboring Christ the King Motel are closing, and Kingsport Transmissions is relocating.
The changes will make way for a new Walgreens and other development at the corner of Stone Drive and New Beason Well Road in eastern Kingsport.
Zane Vanover, owner of the property, said a deal is pending for him to sell it to a North Carolina-based developer.
“There’s still a set of environmental tests to be done next week” on Tuesday, Vanover said Friday morning. He said the land is about 300 feet by 600 feet or about four acres.
“I’m working with a developer in North Carolina. They’ve got a Walgreens interested in that corner,” Vanover said. “This should close this fall and this should be open next summer.”
Bill Ford of Charlotte-based Ford Commercial said Friday afternoon that Gary Wallace of Durham is buying the three buildings and property surrounding them from Vanover and then selling the corner space for the Walgreens to Ford.
In turn, Ford said he plans a Walgreens at the corner where the transmission shop and restaurant is, while he said Wallace would take care of the other development where the motel is.
Vanover said that Ralph’s Bar and Grill would close and the owner planned to retire.
Patrons of the restaurant are greeted with a recently installed vinyl sign, tied with ropes above the door, that says “Last Call, Closing Soon.”
Phil Widener, co-owner of the transmission shop with his brother-in-law, said the business plans to move to land Vanover owns near Rainbow Motors just east of the current location on Stone Drive.
He said that the building housing the transmission business once was a gas station, while the restaurant building once housed Woody’s Pizza, among other eateries, before Ralph’s moved in around the late 1970s. The motel used to be the Cleek Motel.
Land across New Beason Well from the transmission shop is farmland and a subdivision, but it once used to be a drive-in theater.
The city has plans to upgrade the intersection where Stone meets New Beason Well to the north and Cleek Road to the south.
The closing date for Christ the King Motel was unclear.
The new development, adjoining where a new city fire station is to locate, is at the easternmost boundary of the yet-to-be-started phase two of the Kingsport Pavilion development.
Walgreens has existing Kingsport stores on Stone Drive near the old Stonegate shopping center, in the Allandale area and on Fort Henry Drive near the Kingsport Town Center, as well as one in Blountville.
The chain, which has locations across the Tri-Cities, also plans a store in Church Hill, on the site of the old Mountaineer Restaurant that was sold for the new store.