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Allied Dispatch ready to renovate former Kress building

Gary B. Gray • Mar 1, 2017 at 11:30 PM

Allied Dispatch Solutions is expected to acquire a Johnson City building permit soon, marking the start of renovations on the historic Kress building downtown where the company plans to move its corporate headquarters.

“They have submitted a plan for the internal stuff, such as mechanical and plumbing,” said Angie Carrier, the city’s Development Services Department director. “That is being reviewed now. Once it’s approved, they can pull a (building) permit.”

On Jan. 9, city officials issued a “stop work” order on interior renovations underway at the time. Carrier said officials responded to a complaint that something was going on in the building and found interior walls were being knocked down.

The order, which remains in effect and attached to the front of the building at 243 E. Main St., states city code requires certain building permits that are not on record, and work can resume when these permits are on file.

Allied Dispatch CEO Anthony Royer said last month he had an agreement with the city to conduct light demolition, and that it had taken some time to get the architectural plans in place.

He was not available for comment last Thursday.

“We’ve submitted the plans, and we expect to have the permit any day now,”’ said Tommy Burleson, whose Burleson Construction is the general contractor on the job. “E. Luke Greene has completed the asbestos removal. Beeson, Lusk & Street did the drawings, and we’ve submitted those.”

Burleson said once construction gets underway, completion could take from three to six months. He also said construction may be done in phases.

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.

The building will serve as the corporate headquarters for the company, which 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.

Allied Dispatch closed on the property in early March 2016 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 taken place, and the location’s interior appears neat and in order.

Royer has said he was interested in owning the adjacent city-owned Majestic Park, saying the company wanted redesign it as an extension for employees and for specific events that the city or community could use.

As things stand, there are no plans for that expansion, and the space remains a public thoroughfare for Northeast State Community College students and others.

“There is nothing identified in the plans right now, but that’s not to say the city and company may not enter negotiations at a later date,” said Matt Young, a city planner. 

The Majestic Theater was once one of the best places in the area to take in a show, be it a film or a play. The theater opened during the silent movie era in 1921. It offered 880 seats, and provided movies to the public for more than five decades until it closed in 1981.

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 on the call center floor.

The Kress building will house 50 jobs in the initial phase, which Royer said should happen by July, 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.

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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