Kingsport lawmaker pushing for bill extension to help proposed retail development grow

Some local lawmakers want to help propel growth in the heart of the Tri-Cities.

One of those legislators is Kingsport Representative Bud Hulsey.
He’s pushing for an extension to a tax break bill that he says could help grow Tri-Cities Crossing – a major retail development project proposed in Sullivan County. Until recently, the site sat vacant for years.

Tri-Cities Crossing developer Stewart Taylor didn’t want to interview on camera, but he said via phone call that he appreciates all the support of East Tennessee legislators, the governor and Kingsport city leaders.

Taylor also said he is working on two leases for Tri-Cities Crossing retailers that he says he hopes will be in place within the next two weeks.

“I think we need more stores and stuff for the younger generation that’s coming up,” said Jerry Hartman, who lives nearby Tri-Cities Crossing.

That growth is something Hulsey is hoping for, too, and why he’s supporting a proposed extension to a bill he thinks could help do just that for the proposed retail site.

“Instead of sending the state all the tax revenue that comes off of the development of it, they can recoup some of that. It’s not all of it, but they can recoup some of that and that can go against what they’ve invested there,” Hulsey said.

The person in charge of overseeing economic development in Kingsport says the city supports the move.

“This amount of retail is going to take a long time to develop. I think it’s enough to get us the anchor stores that we really need to see to be the true catalyst for the rest of the development,” Kingsport Development Services Director, Lynn Tully said.

So far, on site, Tully says Meade Tractor is open, with other plans she says for an auto mall nearby.

“We’ve got plans for an additional 5 or 6 auto dealerships there, a variety of different brands. The first one on tap is Chantz Scott Kia,” said Tully.

But Hulsey hopes to see so much more.

“We want all the businesses we can get to come in there and that place to begin to grow and hire people and create a tax base,” Hulsey said.

The original bill passed in 2011 and was set for ten years. This proposed extension would add another five years to that bill.

Hulsey told us he expects the House to vote on the bill next week.

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