JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Thursday brought new developments in the downtown redevelopment project at the John Sevier Center.
The Sevier Center currently serves as a home for hundreds of elderly and disabled residents. City leaders want to move residents out of the former historic hotel into new apartments on the south side of Johnson City.
For the first time Thursday, the people who live there had a chance to see what their new home would look like.
“Oh it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous,” resident Tammy McKinley said. “Washers, dryers, dishwashers, hardwood looking floors.”
Tammy McKinley has lived in the building for about two years. She said she was happy to provide her own input and hear that there are already plans to provide movers.
“At first, I was crushed, moving is such an ordeal,” McKinley said. “But once they explained how they were going to take care of all that, it was like, ah, relief.”
The opening is slated for late 2025. The development authority said they’ll continue to take care of and perform maintenance on the Sevier Center in the meantime.
“I think people were pleased to be able to finally see what a future home might really look like for them,” Johnson City Development Authority Executive Director Patricia Oldham said. “It’s one thing to hear about it over a series of months, and it’s another thing to really see something in front of you.”
Tallal Shakarchi, Vice President of LHP Capital, the company in charge of developing the property, said he’s excited to get the project off the ground.
“[I’m] really excited that we got [concept plans] in front of the residents this morning,” Shakarchi said. “Got to see their actual excitement about this process, you know makes what we do worth doing.”
Also on Thursday night, city commissioners voted to approve a couple of changes to the concept plan, including changing it from two buildings to one, and shifting the location slightly to preserve the wetland area nearby.