BRISTOL, Tenn. — The developer behind The Pinnacle is seeking a $1.7 million tax break to redevelop the former Kmart on West State Street.

A tax increment financing application filed with the Bristol Tennessee Housing Redevelopment Authority shows developer Steve Johnson and his company, Johnson Commercial Development, plan to redevelop the property and restore the 116,000-square-foot empty building.

The TIF application has yet to be approved and will have to go before a public hearing before it can be considered for approval by the City Council.

The application shows that should the project move forward it is expected to cost $8.9 million, create an estimated 125 to 200 new jobs upon completion and generate around $23 million in sales tax revenue.

Johnson declined to comment on his plans for the property.

An early mockup of the developed site, included with the application, shows a restored building, with two one-acre parcels set aside at the front of the property facing West State Street.

At Bristol Tennessee Housing Redevelopment Authority’s Board of Commissioner’s Wednesday meeting Steve Scyphers, CEO of the authority told the board he did not know who the new tenant of the former Kmart building would be but was told by Johnson Commercial Development that it would be retail.

The property, which is currently valued at $2.6 million according to the Tennessee Comptroller of Treasury, has been vacant since the Kmart closed in August 2016. Later that year, ownership was transferred to Florida Mission Eternal Gospel Church, a ministry in Palm Beach, Florida. The owner is currently listed as the church’s incorporated nonprofit entity.

The Rev. Raphael Pérez, the church’s leader, said the property is currently under contract but did not say who the contract was with. He added he had spoken with people from Johnson Commercial Development. Johnson also declined to comment on whether he and his company were in talks with the church and Pérez.

Kelly Graham of Graham & Associates, Realtors which was hired by the church to market the property, said when good things are coming to the city he would love to “scream about it from the roof tops” but could neither confirm nor deny there was a contract. He also declined to discuss who his clients were doing or considering doing business with.

The property is not in the Border Region Retail Tourism Development District, which only applies to areas adjacent to Interstate 81, so would not be eligible for the sales tax incentives available in the district, Tom Anderson, director of economic development for the city said.

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276-645-2512 | lgreiss@bristolnews.com | Twitter: @Leif_Greiss

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