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Business & Technology

Bristol officials working on incentive package for Pinnacle development where Bass Pro will be anchor

August 15th, 2012 2:50 am by Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT -- The city of Bristol will be providing an incentive package for the new Pinnacle development, where Bass Pro Shops announced Monday it would be opening a new store within the next 18 months.

But what that incentive package will entail and at what cost has not been determined at this time, a Bristol official said Tuesday.

Bristol developer Steve Johnson and Bass Pro Shops officials announced Monday a new 100,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops store would be coming to the Pinnacle -- a 1.3 million-square-foot mixed-used development on 400 acres off Exit 74 of Interstate 81. The store would be located on a hill behind the Tennessee Welcome Center.

Asked about what type of incentive was offered to lure Bass Pro Shops to Bristol, Johnson would not comment, saying the details were confidential.

However, Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips said Kingsport was asked for a $25 million incentive package to bring Bass Pro Shops to the Tri-Cities Crossing. Other cities across the country have also shelled out millions of dollars to bring the sporting goods giant to their communities.

Mike Sparks, deputy city manager in Bristol, Tenn., said the city would be working on an incentive package for the entire Pinnacle development, likely with infrastructure improvements. Sparks noted any incentives would be for the development as a whole and not just specifically for Bass Pro Shops.

"We are not through the discussion yet. We're still working on a development agreement. The developers felt they had to get the first major company to commit to help shape the development concept," Sparks said. "We'll be working with the developers on what's appropriate for the city to do."

The Pinnacle development is located in a Border Regions District, which ironically is the product of a law written by Kingsport and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly last year.

The law allows municipalities to designate up to 950 acres as a border region retail tourism district and offer potential retailers and property owners incentives for creating and locating business within the district. Bristol had its district certified by the state on Feb. 9.

Incentives could include land, infrastructure improvements or a direct cash incentive of a building or inventory. The funds for the incentives would likely come from the issuance of bonds, and in order to pay back the bonds, the new law allows cities to keep up to 59 percent of all state sales taxes generated inside the district for up to 30 years.

Kingsport has its own Border Regions District -- the Tri-Cities Crossing -- and was in the fight for the Bass Pro Shops store. Bristol, Va. -- operating under a similar law passed after the Tennessee version -- was also vying to bring the Bass Pro Shops store to Exit 5.

Sparks said any incentives offered by Bristol, Tenn., would have to go before the City Council and would likely take place before the end of the year.

Bass Pro Shops officials have said they hope the new store will be open by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

"We're not there yet. They're still working on their concept, designs, and as they do that our commitment is to work with the developers to try and make the project go forward," Sparks said.

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