KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- A vibrant community – with 126 new houses – is what Kingsport leaders envision for the undeveloped Brickyard Park property. The city has deliberated the best uses for the old General Shale property for years. After weighing the pros and cons of industrial versus residential use, city leadership has decided to go the residential route. The 39-acre property would also have a green space for gatherings and concerts.
“That’s what this project really is about. It’s creating that vibrancy, that energy, more people enjoying what downtown has to offer,” said Jason Hudson, Kingsport’s economic development director.
Hudson said the housing units would ideally be in the range of $220,000, where he says there’s a gap in Kingsport’s market.
“To build housing that’s going to attract families and professionals to our area who want to have that kind of lifestyle, and have that convenient access to downtown,” said Hudson.
Families living in the new community would also have easy access to Brickyard Park ballfields, including the new Miracle Field and a bike pump track that’s also in the works.
“I mean imagine being able to live in Brickyard Park and having access to the ball fields, TNT, V.O. Dobbins, the downtown area. Being able to walk to eat, walk to play,” said Hudson.
There has been previous talk of building a minor league baseball field on the property. With the future of the Appalachian League in question, Hudson called that project ‘highly unlikely.’
The residential and green space plan received positive feedback from the Kingsport BMA this week. Next, the city may submit a request for proposal to see the plans of interested developers.
Hudson estimated it could take 7 years for all 126 housing units to be built and absorbed. By that time, the city is projecting over $320,000 in property tax benefits between Kingsport and Sullivan County per year.
The Kingsport Economic Development Board purchased approximately 98 acres of the old General Shale property for $2.77 million, Hudson said.
“We anticipate a 10-year break-even analysis for the city on what we purchased the property for – verses what we will generate in sales tax, property tax, and utility fees,” he said.