KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — In less than a year, visitors to downtown Kingsport could enjoy an outdoor concert, on top of one of downtown’s most historic buildings.

The State Theater, located at the corner of Broad Street and Market Street, sat empty for years until Kingsport-native Mark Hunt bought the building in 2019.

“This build has just kind of been intriguing to me since I was a kid,” Hunt said. “I remember coming here to see movies.”

Crews have been working to rebuild the building’s interior from the ground up, Hunt said.

“It was in pretty rough shape,” Hunt told News Channel 11. “There was a hole in the roof you could’ve drove a car through and I bought it.”

After years of work, however, Hunt says he hopes to open in May 2024 — just in time to take advantage of the building’s new rooftop bar.

Downtown community leaders are excited for that day to come.

“Any time a new business opens downtown, any time there’s a new venue, any time there’s a new investment, it’s a positive for everyone,” Downtown Kingsport Association President Robin Cleary told News Channel 11.

Hunt said he’s hoping to bring crowds potentially as large as 1,000 to downtown with up-and-coming acts, but he hasn’t settled on a final capacity.

“His plans are to have us on the map in downtown Kingsport, much like, you know, of the Orange Peel in Asheville or Mill & Mine in Knoxville,” Cleary said.

Aside from music, Hunt said he also hopes to feature comedy acts once renovations are complete.