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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Harman Ice, a fixture for 107 years along West Walnut Street, is moving to new digs on Rocky Top Road in south Johnson City.
“When the city contacted us and said we want you to relocate, we were like, great,” Vice President Andy Harman told News Channel 11. “That’s all that plan is designed to do.”
Even so, with one office several blocks from Harman Ice’s long-time home at 724 W. Walnut and office space that hasn’t been modernized in years, Harman and his brother Reece saw the move as a broader opportunity — especially since the company’s footprint has expanded significantly the past two decades.
The site will be a new operations center for Harman’s overall business, which the company’s website shows include ice plants or distribution centers in three South Carolina locations, one western North Carolina location, Knoxville and Marion, Va. in addition to Johnson City.
“This is an opportunity for us to upgrade our company office space, make it a better environment for people to work in, modernize everything, upgrade equipment — just solve all the problems that we’ve had here forever.”
Burleson Construction received a permit for the work, valued at $700,000, early this year. The company is renovating 17,700 square feet at a building formerly owned by Smith Wholesale. Harman purchased 5.4 acres and a building for $1.22 million last October.
“It’s an opportunity for us to consolidate operations in Johnson City,” Vice President Andy Harman told News Channel 11. “Office space, manufacturing and other types of services that we’re going to be able to do under one roof.”
The opportunity was accelerated by Johnson City’s West Walnut Street redevelopment project, which included plans for purchase (now completed) of Harman Ice’s property. The company’s buildings will be demolished to make way for an extension of Cherokee Street from Walnut to State of Franklin Road and for creation of a park-like stormwater mitigation area.
The city plans to begin that work early next year.
WHAT: Renovation of 17,700 square feet at the former Smith Wholesale into new ice plant and office headquarters for Harman Ice.
WHERE: 2899 Rocky Top Road, Johnson City (just north of Mayflower Road and just east of Interstate 26.)
WHO: Harman Ice paid $1,220,000 for the property Oct. 29, 2021.
WHEN: Building permit obtained Feb. 1 2022. Office space set to be occupied in October with ice plant up and running by January 2023.
YOUR TAX BENEFIT: Future benefit from anticipated mixed-use development on the former Harman Ice property is unknown at this time but could be significant.