Cootie Brown’s owner wins bid for Lot 8 property along State of Franklin


JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – After narrowing it down to three possible tenants for the popular Lot 8 property in Johnson City, the city’s Public Building Authority made its final decision Wednesday.

Representatives from the Purple Cow restaurant, the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce and Cootie Brown’s were all vying for the land on State of Franklin, but in the end the PBA voted to enter into negotiations with Cootie Brown’s.

Jon Smith, the board’s chairman, said this was the last piece of property they had to sell that was a part of the Millennium Centre Park.

The land, which is 2.8 acres, is near the Millennium Centre, sits next to Ruby Tuesday’s and is across from East Tennessee State University.

Smith said the board felt this restaurant was the best fit for the land.

Rendering of the Cootie Brown’s restaurant at the proposed State of Franklin location.

“We feel that this type of restaurant is going to be very popular not only with the students, but with the visitors to the university and to Mountain States (Health Alliance) as well,” he said. “It’s ideally located and has a certain ambiance and charm that has made Cootie Brown’s really popular.”

We also spoke with the CEO of Cootie Brown’s, Tony Vella, who said the restaurant is just the first phase of what he wants to build on that property.

“In the rear of the property, we’re going to put a two-story office and retail space,” Vella said.

He said after the restaurant on State of Franklin Road is complete, Cootie Brown’s will look at expanding to other locations, naming cities like Kingsport, Asheville and even Knoxville as possibilities.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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