Council building Young Farm marketing plan

Nathan Baker • Dec 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM

An industry expert will look at the site of a planned 100-acre commercial and retail development in Boones Creek to determine the types and sizes of stores that could someday move there.

Jeff Green, a retail real estate feasibility analyst and president of his namesake firm, told the Washington County Economic Development Council board of directors Thursday that he will consider multiple factors in helping to write the recommendation the board has asked of him for the tract of land off Interstate 26’s Boones Creek Exit 17, known as the Young Farm.

Green said he plans to collect data on the area’s population, demographics, residential growth, daytime population, retail expenditures and psychographics, a measure of interests and lifestyles.

He said the end result will help the developers and the local municipalities to build a well-informed strategy regarding the most lucrative type of shopping center and to identify the businesses that are lacking in the Tri-Cities.

“What I’m doing isn’t just a feasibility tool, but I take it to the next level, and basically, it can be used for leasing,” Green said. “What you want to do locally is to be able to work with any potential developer, any potential leasing person, and actually have a strategy of who you’re going after with them, rather than them telling you exactly who they’re going after.”

In a preliminary study of the area, the analyst said he believes Johnson City is missing an entertainment focus, businesses that he broadly defined as theaters and upscale bowling alleys to restaurants.

In February, the Development Council and the Johnson City Development Authority created a tax increment financing, or TIF, district at the site to help spur investment there.

A TIF district plan earmarks designated land for development, and allows municipalities to help pay for improvements based on the expected growth in tax collections after the development begins generating revenue.

By designating the TIF district and commissioning the feasibility study, local leaders hope to cash in on the potentially lucrative site near the Interstate and in an area surrounded by wealthy residential neighborhoods.

The Economic Development Council is partnered with Johnson City-based Mountcastle Corp. to help market the Boones Creek site, and has an option on the property for the next three years.

According to the company’s website, Mountcastle has developed properties in six states, most of them supermarket shopping centers.

Green estimated he should be finished with the analysis in about 45 days, at which time he will present his findings to the council.

Related story:

Major retail project planned for Boones Creek

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