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Brewpub gets $195k public grant

Nathan Baker • Sep 13, 2019 at 11:26 PM

A brewpub, restaurant and rooftop events space project in downtown Johnson City cleared a final hurdle Friday for public revitalization incentives.

The Johnson City Development Authority’s board of directors unanimously approved a tax increment financing package for developer MMM Enterprises worth $195,914.62 to renovate a building at 142 W. Market St. at the street’s intersection with Boone Street.

Four partners with minds and passion for beer-making — Ted Catron, David Andrews, Randy McVeigh and Ed Martin — expect to open Watauga Brewing Company there.

The partners debuted their home-brewed beer at the city’s annual Thirsty Orange Festival in 2017 and won the event’s People’s Choice Award this year.

The board approved the financing agreement quickly, noting that the Washington County Commission had already passed the proposal at its August meeting.

Some Development Authority board members remarked that it was unusual for the county commission to vote on a downtown TIF project before the JCDA, but board liaison Dianna Cantler said the timing of the financing application’s submission and the developer’s hurry to build put the approval process out of order.

The owners aim to open the city’s first rooftop bar in the building and bring economic activity to a spot slightly outside the downtown core, where development is slower and some buildings remain empty.

In approving the TIF incentives, Development Authority board members acknowledged the project’s significance in redeveloping a blighted area and its potential to increase property values downtown.

Tax increment financing is a mechanism available to the authority that allows property tax collections above a baseline within a set district tagged for revitalization to be held in a separate account and doled out to help projects that will increase value and business.

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