Kingsport BMA vote helps ‘West Gate’ residential development move forward

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Kingsport city leaders showed support for the creation of a new residential development at Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. The BMA approved a tax increment financing plan for what’s known as the ‘West Gate’ development.

This new residential development will be built on a former shopping center site that’s been vacant for 18 years. Tuesday’s BMA vote was considered the final step to making the redevelopment possible.

A map of the West Gate project area in BMA documents

Around 90 new single-family homes are expected to come to the site of the former Walmart off West Stone Drive. The site is located in the Stonegate Plaza Redevelopment District, which has remained undeveloped for nearly two decades.

“If it sits there for another 18 years because we don’t move forward on a great project like this, then that hurts the taxpayers here,” Kingsport Vice Mayor Colette George said at the meeting.

The West Gate project will move forward after the BMA voted unanimously to approve a tax incentive plan for the developer. These types of plans are known as tax increment financing, or TIFs. The Sullivan County Commission also approved a TIF measure for the project at a recent meeting.

“When we look at this and when we look at the benefits that it brings, it somewhat comes at very little risk to the city or the county because the burden is placed upon the developer, the developer’s got to perform in this,” said Kingsport City Manager Chris McCartt.

A portion of the development site, seen in November 2020

With this new development, Kingsport is now estimated to receive around $33,000 more in taxes annually from the property.

The West Gate project is expected to cost $18 million total to develop and build, according to BMA documents. The units will include homes and townhomes with at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Homes will be priced in the $215,000-$265,000 range. Houses at this price point are considered to be in high demand in Kingsport’s booming market.

“We really believe it will be a huge benefit to meet that demand of housing that we have,” said McCartt. “And then also spurs additional redevelopment, whether that’s in the form, in this case, in residential redevelopment, or other commercial development.”

McCartt said developers estimate the West Gate project will take about 30 months to complete.

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