New downtown Johnson City developments to begin this fall

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Some buildings in the heart of downtown Johnson City will soon be getting a face lift.

This week, Mitch Cox Companies announced it officially closed on four downtown properties including the former hands on building.

When you walk down main street in downtown Johnson City, you’ll notice empty buildings.

“The properties along the 300 block of Main Street had been vacant for several months, since Hands On Museum moved out, so it’s really caused a disconnect between the 200 Block and the 300 Block,” Dianna Cantler said.

Director of Downtown Development Dianna Cantler, said that vacancy will soon be a thing of the past.

Cantler said, “It puts the properties back on the tax rolls, so it benefits the city. And then it benefits the entire block because we go from having vacant buildings to buildings that are forming at a level where we can lease them and have new businesses come in.”

Mitch Cox Companies and Universial Development & Construction have teamed up with the city to add life to the 300 block of Main Street.

“We’re going to have about 25-30 multifamily units when we’re all set and done,” Mitch Coz Companies, Philip Cox said. “One thing that’s great about this is they’re going to have on-sight parking. A lot of the multi-family in downtown doesn’t provide any parking.”

There will also be retail and office space.

“They have entered into a development agreement with the city that will restore the buildings, bring retail or restaurants or some type of recreational entertainment to the first floor and then up-level-living on three of the buildings,” Canlter said.

The entire area covers up to 70,000 to 80,000 square feet.

“They were the original JCPenney building. We had the old woolworth building, which everybody knows is the Hands On building, and then there was the Sears building and there was just a small retail building,” according to Mitch Cox Companies development partner, Philip Cox. “We’re going to start on two of those buildings. First, we’ll start on the right side if you’re looking at it from Main Street, which would be the Sears building and smaller retail building. We plan to start that in 30-60 days. You’ll see a complete change of transformation from the exterior.”

You can expect restoration to begin this fall.

“Our goal is to do that within the next year, year and a half. As tenants come, we have some large spaces that we have to fill,” Cox said.

The Henry Project will take about two to three years to complete, according to Cox. It is named after Henry Johnson, the founder of Johnson City.

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