Editor’s Note: The Tri-Cities is growing and News Channel 11 wants to keep you informed of new construction underway commercially and residentially. Our weekly series “Who’s Building That?” uses public documents, research, community connections and hard work to bring you information about who’s building or renovating what, where, and for what use. You’ll also get facts and figures about project costs and potential property tax revenue as well as trend data. Don’t drive by and wonder anymore!

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A new option for coffee drinkers is about to go up on the former Toys R Us property on North Roan Street, and the 45,000-square-foot building that set countless kids dreaming through the years before closing in 2018 will soon fall to the wrecking ball.

7 Brew, a fast-growing chain based in Rogers, Ark., will build at the corner of the 4.7-acre property closest to North Roan and Mockingbird Lane, Mountcastle Development’s William Roller told News Channel 11.

“It was a perfect fit for them and a good entry into our market,” Roller said of 7 Brew, which is also set to open a location on Stone Drive in Kingsport. “If you want to try something in this area you try it on North Roan Street.”

A concept plan for the former Toys R Us property shows the 7 Brew building on the far left, with larger buildings currently proposed for a financial center and a restaurant. North Roan Street is at the bottom of the image. (Courtesy William Roller)

Along with the small but typically busy coffee shop, Roller said the property’s owner, Stewart Taylor, is looking to add at least two more “outparcels.” Talks are fairly far along with a “fast casual” restaurant that would be adding an additional Tri-Cities location and a financial-industry business.

Even if a fourth building goes up, the finished square footage will be dwarfed by the former toy store. Current concept plans show about 6,600 square feet of space for the restaurant and financial building, with a significantly smaller footprint for 7 Brew.

Taylor tried repeatedly to find end users for a renovated Toys R Us space after buying the property for $2.5 million in September 2020, but to no avail, Roller said.

“Nobody wants 45,000 square feet anymore, and he spent a lot of money on trying to subdivide it,” Roller said. “We just couldn’t make sense of it.”

The purchase, which came two years after the store’s closure and a sale of the property for $2 million — it has a tax-appraised value of $3.3 million — gave Taylor a total of four retail/commercial properties along the North Roan Street corridor.

Taylor, whose most prominent property is The Crossings development near the intersection of interstates 26 and 81, is bullish on the strip. He owns an adjacent 4.6 acres currently home to Bonefish Grill, Texas Roadhouse and FedEx.

Mountcastle Properties’ William Roller said retail tenants are generally looking for smaller spaces than the former Toys R Us’s 45,000 square feet. The building will come down to make way for smaller ones. (WJHL photo)

“He’s got a good eye for real estate and recognizes North Roan Street will always be the primary retail corridor for Johnson City,” Roller said.

WHAT: A new, three-tenant shopping center on a 4.7-acre lot. 7 Brew is confirmed as one tenant. Current plans call for two other buildings for a fast casual restaurant and a financial business.

WHERE: 1910 N. Roan St., Johnson City. Next to Bonefish Grill.

WHO: Taylor Properties (regional developer Stewart Taylor). 7 Brew’s general contractor will build their building. Alloy will demolish the Toys R Us building.

WHEN: Building permits for 7 Brew and demolition to be obtained mid-December 2022.

YOUR TAX BENEFIT: The project should have a valuation of more than $4 million, which would generate about $61,000 annually in combined city and county property taxes. The nature of tenants should bring significant local option sales tax revenue.