Auto Mall plan in the works for Tri-Cities Crossing

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Another turn for a major retail development that’s promised to open in Sullivan County.

More than 3 and a half years ago, crews broke ground on Tri-Cities Crossing. It’s located at the interchange of Interstates 81 and 26.

On October 21, the Kingsport Planning Commission, Gateway Review Commission, and the Board of Zoning Appeals approved a preliminary Auto Mall plan.

City of Kingsport Zoning Administrator, Ken Weems, says the plan includes 5 separate franchised auto dealerships.

“They wanted to see what the scope of the project was and they wound up granting a conceptual approval with a detailed site plan and landscaping plan to come forward for approval once they’re complete at a later date,” Weems said.

One of those dealerships in talks with Tri-Cities Crossing developers is Rick Hill Imports.

The proposed Auto Mall will go on the north side of the interstate.

“We didn’t have any preconceived notion of what exactly would go there years ago,” Weems explained.

Plans on the south side show retails shops, restaurants, hotels, and an I-max theatre. But so far, nothing is set in stone.

“We don’t have any specific entities planning on going there at this time that have been confirmed,” Weems said.

Kingsport resident, Tricia Kelly, said she had high hopes for the development back in 2013. But now, she doesn’t think moving forward with the proposed Auto Mall would be worth it.

“There’s nothing that’s been done, so I don’t understand what benefit that a car lot going out that far. You know, if that’s the only thing that’s drawing out there right now, I mean, what’s the benefit of it?,” she said.

But Weems says he hopes this proposal will help draw in more businesses.

“Once they see that someone has established out there in the vicinity of the interstate intersection it certainly will help hopefully spur additional development,” he said.

Weems says there isn’t a timeline for the auto mall plan.

News Channel 11 reached out to the developer of Tri-Cities Crossing, Stewart Taylor, who said he didn’t want to comment.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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