City halts Allied Dispatch from further demolition in historic Kress building

Gary B. Gray • Jan 26, 2017 at 7:35 PM

Johnson City officials issued a “stop work” order Jan. 9, halting Allied Dispatch Solutions’ preliminary demolition of the historic downtown Kress building into which the company plans to move its new headquarters. 

The order states that city code requires certain building permits that are not on record, and work can resume when these permits are on file.

“We responded to a complaint that something was going on in the building,” said Angie Carrier, the city’s Development Services director. “We found they were knocking down walls. They have told us they are trying to secure a general contractor. Once they do that they need to submit the plans with us.”

Allied Dispatch CEO Anthony Royer said Thursday he had an agreement with the city to conduct light demolition.

“Now we're in the next phase with the electrical, but we haven't filed for the work permit," Royer said. "It's taken us a little while because of the size and scope of the project to get the architectural plans and everything like that. We're finalizing getting the contractor, that's the start of the work with the city."

In October 2015, Royer announced the company’s plans to move downtown, bringing 75 employees and an investment of at least $1.4 million with the renovation of the Kress building at 243 E. Main St.

Royer said Thursday the company will probably hire a general contractor next week, and if there are no issues, complete the renovations in July.

Allied Dispatch closed on the property in early March for about $700,000. At that time, he said renovations would begin the next month and take a few years to complete. A look through the building’s front windows reveals work has been taking place, and the location’s interior appears neat and in order.

Royer said he plans to maintain the 10-foot walkway for pedestrians, and build a walled-in outdoor area for Allied Dispatch's employees. The outdoor space will be made available for public use for events.

“Part of the next phase will be getting the official buy-in from city commissioners,” he said. “We've had a lot of good dialogue when they gave us the park, and we think that will continue."

The building will serve as the corporate headquarters for Allied Dispatch Solutions, a business that contracts with roadside assistance providers to answer calls for assistance and dispatch tow trucks in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The business’ main call center is located in the Borla Business Park in the Carter County part of Johnson City. The business began a little over a year ago with 85 employees, and has since grown to more around 300.

Royer told the Johnson City Press in a previous interview that his long-term goal was to employ more than 800 at the call center floor.

The Kress building will house 50 jobs in the initial phase, which Royer said should happen in the next six months, before expanding to approximately 75 jobs.

Annual salaries will reach nearly $125,000 for 25 of those positions, while the other 75 positions will rake in approximately $25,000, according to a presentation given to the Johnson City Development Authority.

Press Assistant Editor Nathan Baker contributed to this report.

Email Gary Gray at [email protected]. Like Gary B. Gray on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp. Follow him on Twitter @ggrayjcpress.

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