City official says ‘balloon popping’ on economic growth in Kingsport | News

John Rose, Economic Development Manager for the Town of Kingsport, said there will be an industrial boom within Kingsport in retail and business growth.

“We’re just waiting for the balloon to pop,” Rose said.

Addressing Kingsport Mayor and Aldermen’s Council at a retreat on Friday, Rose gave a presentation on the town’s progress in economic development. He told the council that the city is seeing growth in several areas such as housing and population.

At the same time, there could be potential growth ahead.

“He brought great news,” Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull said.

One of the points of interest included the potential opening of a department store at Fort Henry Mall. Rose said if the deal goes through, it will have an impact.

“It would be a boost for the mall,” he said.

There are other businesses looking to open in Kingsport that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the virus starting to hold its own, storefronts may start to appear more.

Downtown, Rose said there have been a total of 18 businesses open since the pandemic began.

After the Pavilion was completed, Rose said the developers of this site were looking for land to develop a Pavilion II. He also said some downtown stores have closed but are expected to reopen.

The Haggle Shop has closed but has been sold and will reopen. He also said Variety Gifts was closed but will reopen under a new name and will either be a gift shop or could open as a restaurant.

The city also has two “opportunity zones” where investors could potentially benefit from incentives and grants. City officials have said these Opportunity Zones are expected to end in 2025 unless extended.

Brickyard Park developers are already exploring how they could use these incentives, Rose said.

The city is also experiencing tremendous growth in housing. At the start of last year, there were a total of 625 lots under contract or in design.

By now, that amount has exploded to more than 2,500, he said.

The population is booming and has shown a growth of 15.7%, based on the 2020 census. If this continues, the city’s population could increase by 7,000 in the next three to five years, according to city ​​archives.

The current population is over 55,000.

City officials said there are currently 16 major developments under construction within the city limits. Kingsport’s growth is also occurring in other ways, such as eventual annexation. Rose told council there is a potential development on Fieldcrest Road off Highway 81 that plans to build about 1,000 units that may apply for annexation.

Rose said one of the goals for this year is to possibly hold an economic summit with the Kingsport Economic Development Council to begin reviewing and updating the town’s strategic plan and also set goals for the to come up.

Miles Burdine, president and chief executive of the Kingsport Chamber, listened to the presentation on Friday.

He said on Monday that Kingsport “enjoys the most economic activity I have seen in many years”.

Burdine said retail and restaurant inquiries are encouraging, small business permits continue to grow, and nearly 90 families a month are moving into the city.

“And there’s a lot more on the horizon,” he said.

He said the city and the board are progressive and strategic thinkers committed to making the city’s strategies a reality.

“The evolution of the workforce is taking shape,” Burdine said. “I truly believe that the seeds that have been planted over the years are now producing shade.”