Property deals reportedly sealed for Walgreens development

By Thomas Wilson

   The last dominoes have fallen into place for a new drug store to set up shop in Elizabethton.
   Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission Chairman Haynes Elliott announced Wednesday that Walgreens' developer had informed him agreements had been reached to construct the new drug store. Planning Commission members approved the preliminary subdivision plat and site plan in February for Walgreens to locate at the corner of Broad Street and Lynn Avenue.
   Developer Ed Street of Street Construction in Johnson City had indicated to Planning Commission members in February that the project was contingent on the closure of several options on properties. The commission at that time voted to rezone property on East C Street from R-2 residential to B-2 arterial business and close an alley lying between Broad Street and East C Street from Lynn Avenue to the Elizabethton Church of Christ. The commission gave final site plan approval contingent on the closure and acquisition of properties mentioned by Street.
   Street needed to close options on other properties in the Broad vicinity to find a new home for the existing Napa Auto Parts store located at 212 Broad Street. A site plan submitted by Appalachia Design Services engineering firm of Blountville calls for the Napa store to relocate across the street to the 100 block on two adjacent property tracts where Shell & Associates, 119 Broad St., and a former used automobile dealership presently stand. The site plan for that development is scheduled on the commission's May agenda.
   Walgreens' arrival in Elizabethton has taken some time. Initially proposed near the intersection of West Elk Avenue and Hudson Drive on the North American Rayon Corp. property, that proposal fell through when a site plan including a new "curb-cut" on West Elk Avenue submitted by Walgreens' developers was turned down by the commission in February of 2003.
   The Planning Commission gave final subdivision plat approval on Thursday to the Site, Inc. property development firm to construct a Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse store at the end of the Wallace Avenue cul-de-sac. The commission passed preliminary subdivision and site plan design plans for Lowe's submitted by the Site, Inc. firm in February.
   A subdivision plat identifying the 16.6-acre tract where the Lowe's Home Improvement store was filed in the county register of deeds office Friday. The subdivision property's ownership was listed to Charles Green, North American Research and Development, and North American Fibers, Inc.
   Ornduff said Lowe's developers would be submitting a letter of credit in the amount of $650,000 to the city as an insurance policy for developers to construct water and sewer lines, storm drains to service the property as well as paving costs.
   The Lowe's development includes an access road extending parallel to West Elk Avenue from the proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter behind the U.S. Post Office to Tony Fuller Drive at the present Wal-Mart store. The construction firm used to construct the Lowe's facility as part of the property's development will build the access road. The new Lowe's represents a $16.5 million investment and could mean from 100 to 175 new jobs in the community according to the company.