CC&O under new ownership
Jun 27, 2012 at 9:41 PM
The historic CC&O Railroad Depot that sits along West State of Franklin Road should be in the hands of its new owner today.
Sevierville attorney Joe Baker is expected to close on the deal in which he purchased the old depot from the Johnson City Development Authority for $5,000.
The JCDA in May entered into a purchase agreement with Baker, who plans to turn the long-vacant downtown landmark into a locally themed brewery and accompanying restaurant.
The sale represents a successful conclusion to the JCDA’s 2010 purchase of the property. The JCDA approved the use of $150,000 in tax increment financing to purchase the depot with the hope of finding a private- sector buyer who would renovate the structure and turn it into a taxpaying, revenue-generating downtown business.
Baker has already seen much success with his Gatlinburg-based Ole Smoky Distillery business, and he plans to create a similar spot in Johnson City that highlights local culture and history.
Earlier this month, Baker told the Johnson City Press he was in discussion with two restaurant groups about a possible partnership with the brewery.
The contract gives the JCDA the first right of refusal to purchase the property at $5,000 for a year after closing should Baker desire to sell the property during that period.
Upon closing, Baker plans to begin work immediately, beginning with renovations to the depot’s exterior, stabilizing the structure’s roof and general clean-up and landscaping.