KINGSPORT — The Tennessee Department of Transportation is fast-tracking nearly $6.5 million worth of roadway improvements along Wilcox Drive and Lincoln Street in connection to Eastman Chemical Co.’s new corporate business center project.
Last May, Eastman announced a $1.6 billion reinvestment plan, dubbed “Project Inspire,” aimed at focusing on safety and environmental projects at the plant, warehouse capacity and building renovations.
The first major project of the plan calls for the construction of a new 300,000-square-foot corporate business center on the site of the company’s old ball fields on South Wilcox Drive, beside the Eastman Credit Union. Eastman estimates the project will create 300 new jobs at the company over the next seven years.
Company and state officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building in October, the ball field shelter was demolished last month and since then erosion fencing has been stretched around the perimeter of the site.
Kingsport recently issued a $74.3 million building permit for the new center, which will eventually accommodate more than 850 employees.
Eastman is planning to have the new office building complete by October 2015, while “Project Inspire” will culminate with the company’s 100th anniversary in 2020.For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.