Several residential developers plan to build in Kingsport what Danny Karst, who built the Edinburgh community, calls 'housing for professional staffing.' Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Is Kingsport competitive enough in delivering upscale housing to white-collar workers and professionals?
The question has emerged amid concerns that an unspecified number of Eastman Chemical Company’s new ex-Solutia employees have chosen not to live in Kingsport when relocating from St. Louis, Mo., where Solutia was based. Eastman completed its $4.8 billion acquisition of Solutia in July 2012.
About 30 of those top-level former Solutia workers decided to live in the Kingsport area, Assistant City Manager for Development Jeff Fleming recently advised the Kingsport Economic Development Board (KEDB).
As for the other ex-Solutia employees who chose to live elsewhere in the Tri-Cities, Fleming said, “It had more to do with personal circumstances.”
Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips, an ex-officio KEDB member, then made an observation: Take the Boones Creek exit off Interstate 26 and you will see upscale housing on the right and left as you travel toward Jonesborough.
“[Kingsport City Manager] John [Campbell] knows and I know we’ve got to make it a priority to get [Kingsport’s] Rock Springs Road close to the condition of Boones Creek Road,” Phillips said. “There’s a new [John Adams Elementary] school out there. There is available land out there, and there’s no reason we can’t have the same type of situation Johnson City has with their subdivisions on Boones Creek Road. ... Until we catch up, we will be behind.”Read more in the Sunday print edition of the Times-News or in the expanded electronic edition.