Kingsport developers Mike Hartgrove, left, and Jerry Petzoldt have been working together for almost 30 years. Cassie Petzoldt, Jerry's daughter, is responsible for sales, marketing and public relations for Old Island.
Thousands of miles and a decade apart, the lives of Kingsport developers Jerry Petzoldt and Mike Hartgrove traveled parallel paths, which eventually led them both to meet on the same path. After 30 years of working together on many commercial and residential developments that you know and enjoy in the Kingsport community, they have now created Kingsport’s finest upscale Lifestyle Community – Old Island.
Both the sons of builders, Petzoldt grew up in the Ozark foothills of Missouri; Hartgrove in the hills of Southwest Virginia. Both men started working with their fathers at the age of 8.
Petzoldt’s father was a remodeling contractor working on schools, churches and medical facilities. Hartgrove’s father, on the other hand, was a general contractor, and Hartgrove worked side by side with his dad in the dirt, the grit and sawdust learning his trade.
Petzoldt started his career in Clearwater, Fla., and received an associate’s degree in architecture. After graduating from college in 1971, Petzoldt got his first taste of real estate development as a real estate appraiser and analyst for a large national bank. He monitored the development of beach front condominiums, shopping centers, office buildings, subdivisions and creation of three large golf course communities, including Innisbrook, Sugur Mill Woods and Green Leaf along Florida’s west coast. There, he met his beautiful wife, Cathy Penix, a native of Piney Flats, Tenn., whom he promised to bring back home one day, with his daughter to live their lives and continue his real estate career in this beautiful area.
In 1982, he and his family moved to Blountville, Tenn., "with a plan." Within a few days and knowing no one except his wife’s immediate family, Petzoldt was in business. He started networking and meeting people in Kingsport and explaining how he could assist them in their real estate projects.
One of the first people Petzoldt met was Hartgrove, who at the time was working mainly in commercial construction with projects like Giuseppe’s Restaurant, Nickel’s Speed Shop and renovation of the Clinchfield Depot, which now houses the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce.
In the mid 1980s, Petzoldt and Hartgrove had the drive and ambition to succeed and each partnered with two of Kingsport’s most well-known developers at that time, the late Johnny Mac Pierce and the late Mac Slaughter, who interestingly enough had also been development partners, building and developing Kingsport properties. During this learning experience, Hartgrove affirmed his interest and strength was in building, and Petzoldt affirmed his interest and strength was in real estate development.
Petzoldt was 32 and Hartgrove was 22 when the two started working together almost 30 years ago. Their first joint project was development planning and construction of the Colonial Walk Shopping Center area in Colonial Heights. "At the time, this was a rural area with nothing but a field," Petzoldt said. "The Post Office had not even been built." They developed a master plan and Hartgrove built a majority of the buildings
Over the next two decades, Petzoldt and Hartgrove worked together and individually on numerous projects throughout the Kingsport area, like Pendleton Place, Rotherwood Estates, Fleetwood Manor in Ridgefields, Cobblestone Place, Pinebrook Place, Hamrick’s Clothing, Gateway Commerce Park, Eastman IT Global Center and the BAE SYSTEMS/US ARMY corporate headquarters to name a few. They also started corporations that specialize in various real estate ventures such as TCI Group-Jerry Petzoldt Agency, Prime Locations Construction, Holston Centcom, Lifestyle Builders, Lifestyle Homes and Lifestyle Development Company.
While Petzoldt and Hartgrove were working on their own developments, a Nashville-based development company purchased a 300-acre farm, owned by Eastman, in Indian Springs just outside the Kingsport city limits off Island Road. It was master planned to include a golf course named Old Island and a new residential community to include 175 home sites and condominiums. In early 2000, with a completed golf course and one home constructed and sold, the Nashville Development Company went into bankruptcy and the housing subdivision appeared abandoned.
In 2005, Old Island Golf Course was purchased by Jack Davis, a Coeburn, Va., business man who also owns six additional golf courses in Myrtle Beach and Florida, and renamed Crockett Ridge Golf Course. The property surrounding the golf course was purchased by a group of Knoxville investors who hired Petzoldt to develop the property. Petzoldt spent the next year redesigning the master plan and repurposing Old Island into an upscale residential community. He turned to his friend, Mike Hartgrove, to build the development’s infrastructure, which included over one and a half miles of streets and sidewalks. Today, all of the development infrastructure construction is complete.
Petzoldt’s new Old Island master plan reduced the number of home sites to 100 and, after obtaining the appropriate city and county approval, Hartgrove broke ground building the roads allowing actual home construction to begin again at Old Island in 2007. While Petzoldt and Hartgrove were developing the Crockett Landing and Treetop Estates area, they bought out the Knoxville investors and formed Lifestyle Development Company to complete the development and build Old Island. They then purchased an additional 51 acres for development of home sites into a special neighborhood called "The Islands" for high-end custom and estate-size homes. This will become their biggest joint venture to date, a $75 million development when completed. To date, over $26 million in development work and home construction has been completed as reflected in the 2011 Sullivan County tax appraisal of Old Island, which is an increase of over $24 million since Petzoldt and Hartgrove commenced.
"We did all of this purposefully with a distinct upscale housing market in mind," Petzoldt said. "We knew there was a strong demand for quality-built custom and estate homes and home sites." And Lifestyle Development Company’s forecast proved correct. The development is now 47 percent sold out of home sites with 35 custom and estate homes complete or under construction. Of those 35 homes, many are million dollar homes. What has been significant to Petzoldt and Hartgrove is Old Island has managed to capture demand for upscale housing and be successful in the Kingsport new home market during "this Great Recession " era, and the positive trend continues.
Not every home at Old Island is a million dollars. Old Island’s variety of homes range from a patio home with 2,000 square feet on one level to the four-story, 8,100 square-foot custom estate home, with prices starting around $350,000 to more than one million. Regardless of the size, each Old Island home comes standard with open floor plans that contain high-end molding, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and, most importantly, sweeping spectacular views of the Northeast Tennessee landscape.
"Potential buyers come to Old Island and they cannot believe how beautiful the development is," Petzoldt said. Cassie Petzoldt, Jerry’s daughter who is responsible for sales, marketing and public relations for Old Island stated "I have had people tell me when they stand on a back deck, the experience is almost hypnotizing because of the view and the peace and quiet."
"People tell us Old Island is Kingsport’s best-kept secret, a real treasure," Jerry Petzoldt added.
The million dollar homes include high-end amenities like Viking stoves and Thermador refrigerators, large media rooms with surround-sound already installed, wine cellars and extensively-detailed woodworking. One of the medium-sized patio homes currently on the market has a "survivor room" in the basement. Petzoldt explained the survivor room is a self-contained room for use during power outages. "The room is equipped with everything needed to live comfortably in the case of severe weather with major power outages" during cold winter months.
At the request of Lifestyle Development Company, the city of Kingsport annexed Old Island into the city limits. The subdivision includes city water and sewer, street lighting and all city services. Children attend Jefferson Elementary, Ross N. Robinson and Dobyns-Bennett.
There is a limited number of home sites left in the Old Island Lifestyle Community with two acreage tracts available in Treetop Estates, 15 patio home sites available in Crockett Landing and 32 home sites located in The Islands. The home sites range in size from under a half acre to more than five acres and range in price from $69,900 to $399,900. Old Island recently combined some of the lots to create larger lots offering bigger lots and better values.
A surge of home-building interest has emerged with confident home buyers making plans on acquiring their building sites and preparing to take advantage of the unbelievable low interest rates and competitive pricing on new home construction. "I have never seen a better time in my 40 years experience to finally build that custom estate home or smaller dream home," Petzoldt said. "It is time to move forward to take advantage of this rare time in history as many are saying they are just tired of waiting and having their life put on hold."
Connie Salyers, Blue Ridge Properties, is the realtor representative for Old Island, or call your realtor and say "Take Me To Old Island."
"Once you select your home site, we can either build the home or you can hire your own builder," Petzoldt said.
Once Old Island Lifestyle Community is sold out, which won't be long, Petzoldt and Hartgrove will likely turn their attention to high-end, high-density housing in the downtown Kingsport area. "The economy here is great. The demand is here for upscale living and that is what we are providing to Kingsport residents and the new residents that ‘Move To Kingsport,’" Petzoldt said.
For more information on Old Island, visit the website at oldislandhomes.com or drop by and visit. Old Island is located only seven minutes from John B. Dennis on Memorial Blvd., turn left at Cherry Point Pet Clinic onto Old Island Road, then one mile and left thru our waterfall-park entrance into the beautiful community. Old Island has an Information Center that is open daily in the afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m or any time by appointment. You may reach Realtor Connie Salyer at 423-534-1621 Jerry Petzoldt at 423-677-2486, Cassie Petzoldt at 423-677-2344 or Ron Warrick at 423-677-6348.
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