Former Hog Wild Saloon being torn down; developer shares future plans

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- A building with a troubled past is now being demolished piece by piece.

“This property just has such a negative history…” said now owner Jonathan Anderson, the director of Engage Tri-Cities.

The old Hog Wild Saloon on West Stone Drive where what appears to be drug paraphernalia litters the grass and bullet holes are clearly visible the owner sees a different future.

“What we believe is that God redeems all things. And so this property is here for a reason,” said Anderson.

This building has been vacant since since the city deemed it “unsafe” in March 2018 after a shooting that claimed the life of a 20 year old.

William Newkirk, Jr. is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the death of 20-year-old Brett Rodgers.

Newkirk, Jr.’s case is expected to go to trial in May 2020.

Newkirk, Jr. was 16-years-old at the time of the shooting. He is charged as an adult in the case.

The city then told the former owner to tear it down and clear the land. Instead that owner donated it to Anderson’s non-profit, Engage Tri-Cities in October 2018. Its a Christian-based organization dedicated to helping those who are homeless or in low-income situations become self-sufficient through education and other resources.

“As we got into the project, we saw that it was going to take over half a million dollars to renovate it, said Anderson. “It would require new electrical, new plumbing, new H/VAC and so our organization was just not willing to out that money into this particular building.”

As for what’s next-

“We’re not 100% sure whether we will continue with development from the building stand point or whether we will turn around and sell the property,” said Anderson.

No one in Kingsport City government was was available for comment on the demolition, but a spokesman issued a statement saying:

“The city has followed standard protocol to follow through on a process to assist the owner in the best use of the property. A demolition permit has been issued, and it is now up to the property owner to complete.”

Heather Cook, Kingsport Spokesperson

“Our desire is to see this property redeemed and used for something good and the good of the city.”

No matter the outcome- Anderson says he hopes this dark spot in the city – can one day become a light.

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