The former Mullican Flooring property where the complex will be built. (Ron Campbell/Johnson City Press)
A new housing development hopes to bring resort-style living to students on the former site of a Johnson City manufacturer.
With the purchase of the former Mullican Flooring manufacturing facility, developer Monarch Ventures plans to build a 550-bed luxury apartment complex for students attending classes at nearby East Tennessee State University.
“Johnson City is a great town, it’s a terrific location, near a growing university,” Monarch CEO Shannon King said Monday. “There’s a definite need for housing that we feel we will be able to fill.”
King said the multi-million-dollar complex will offer both two- and four-bedroom apartments, a resort pool, a volleyball court, a bistro coffee bar, outdoor terraces and a full list of other amenities. Click here for a top-down rendering of the site.
The facility will also employ a support staff and host social events for tenants.
The apartments’ interior scheme has not yet been finalized, King said, but the Johnson City location will be similar to Monarch’s other properties in Conway, S.C., and Statesboro, Ga.
Aside from the confirmed Johnson City development, the company has three other sites in various stages of planning, in Charlotte, N.C., Cullowhee, N.C., and Columbia, S.C.
Before the University Parkway housing complex could move forward, the 11-acre heavy industrial property (I-2) and the surrounding medium density residential (R-3) was rezoned as high density residential-university (R-6), which allowed for 25 units per acre or a maximum of 275 total units.
Angie Carrier, Johnson City’s Development Services Director, said the new zoning designation matches that of the University Edge student community on the other side of ETSU’s Thomas Stadium from the Mullican site.
Carrier said the change was actually a down-zoning, which means the proposed development had less of an impact on the property than the previous industrial owner, and was easier for officials to approve.
“Based on the city’s comprehensive plan for that corridor, it was determined that residential was the most appropriate development,” she said. “So when Mullican moved and this developer expressed interest, it really fit in with what we wanted to do long-term there.”
Last year, Mullican Flooring moved its assembly line from the 180,000-square-foot University Parkway building to a larger facility on Woodlyn Road, expecting a $12 million investment over three years and 164 new jobs.
Washington County Economic Development Council’s Mitch Miller said the expanding manufacturer and the incoming development are major successes for the organization and for the local economy.
“This development has been a long time coming,” he said. “It’s a great property to redevelop and a huge step toward revitalization and connecting the university to the downtown area.”
Now that most of the preliminary hurdles have ben cleared for the property, King said the company expects to begin demolishing the old manufacturing facility in the next two weeks and hopes to be able to start renting the new apartments in fall 2014.
She said the future of the complex is still bright despite a recent announcement by ETSU President Brian Noland that the university faces a budget shortfall due largely to a 3 percent decline in enrollment.
“We don’t believe that’s going to affect us,” King said. “We’ve done our analytics, and our success is not contingent on enrollment growth. We’re bringing a more upscale product at a good value, and that’s what we believe to be our selling point to separate us from some of the other housing options in the area.”