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Plans to build entertainment venue, sports complex behind The Pinnacle move forward

Plans are in the works for a new entertainment venue in Washington County, Virginia. Developer Steve Johnson wants to build everything on his property right behind the Pinnacle.

The plans are in the very early stages. The Washington County Virginia Board of Supervisors is still waiting for a concept plan from Johnson. But County Administrator, Jason Berry, said the plan is to build an amphitheater, sports complex and a hotel on the 250 acres of land behind Bass Pro Shops.

While the Pinnacle is in Tennessee, the land for this development is on the Virginia side in Washington County. County leaders are excited about the potential for more tax dollars. But in order to make that development happen, they’ll need to build a road leading into it, which is projected to cost $13 million.

So they’re asking Senator Bill Carrico to propose legislation to approve an ‘Admission Tax’ to help pay for it. If the state grants that, the county would be able to charge an extra tax on admissions tickets to future events like sporting events or concerts at Johnson’s development.

Board of Supervisors chairman Randy Pennington said this would not affect any other event or development in the county. In the state of Virginia, a county needs approval of an ‘Admission Tax’ on a case by case basis.

“It’s not against the law, but it has to be passed by the General Assembly,” Pennington said. “The county has no taxing power for that.”

“It’d be something we don’t have for one,” Berry said. “And two, with the development in Tennessee all those dollars are going into the state of Tennessee. This would be a development that the county would benefit from on sales tax, property tax, so forth. It’d be a good thing for the county and add to the quality of life at the same time.”

The proposed road would create another access point from I-81 to the development, including the Pinnacle. The county is applying for VDOT funding to cover half of the $13 million cost.

As for the ‘Admission Tax’ resolution, it’s now on its way to Senator Carrico. The county hopes the issue will be taken up and approved in the next General Assembly, which will start in January.

Story courtesy of Tiana Bohner/WCYB:  Link

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Indoor trampoline park bounces into Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. – An indoor trampoline park has opened in the Twin City for those who want to dive into a massive pit of foam cubes, somersault across the room or jump to a basketball rim like Michael Jordan.

The second Tri-Cities location of Just Jump Trampoline Park is at The Pinnacle off Interstate 81’s Exit 74 in Bristol, Tennessee. The trampoline park offers 25,000 square feet of spongy, cushioned fun, according to co-owner Beth Hutton.

“It’s amazing to finally be open,” Hutton said. “We’ve been open in Johnson City for two years and have been able to take everything we’ve learned and apply it here. People have been begging us to come and since opening on Friday, the Bristol community has been so very supportive,” she said.

Just Jump features nine unique attractions. The main area offers more than a dozen trampoline pads where guests can bounce, attempt flips and get major air at their own pace.

The facility also has a station with basketball hoops to dunk on – if you’ve waited your whole life to dunk – but just aren’t tall enough. Next, there are two oversized dodge ball courts where you the classic elementary school game can be played.

“The dodge ball courts are one of our most popular things,” Hutton said. “High school and middle school kids enjoy them and we are hoping to start some tournaments in about a month.”

Guests can also go head to head on the Gladiator Beam, where they must stay balanced on a narrow beam while trying to knock off opponents. The park also features a laser maze, rock-climbing wall, giant air bag, and an obstacle course that compares to TV show, “American Ninja Warrior.” The course pushes boundaries as participants swing, jump, and climb across it.

Hutton, a native of Bristol, Virginia, said the trampoline park was at maximum capacity of 160 jumpers for several hours on Saturday and business has been great.

“One of the best tips for those folks who have never been to a trampoline park before would be to come on a week night when it’s not so busy,” Hutton said. “Plan ahead and have fun as well.”

All guests are required to sign waivers before jumping and wear special footwear with “grip pad” soles, which help feet grab more tightly to trampoline mats. Hutton sells the footwear for $1.75 at the check-in desk.

“We take the safety of our guests very seriously,” Hutton said. “We have over 60 workers who are all trained on key safety measures.”

Just Jump also offers a variety of birthday party packages and several field trips have been booked by schools in the region, Hutton said.

But it’s not just kids who are enjoying Just Jump. Adults, like Bristol, Virginia resident Caitlyn Pennington, are bouncing into the business ready to have some fun.

“I went to the one in Johnson City with my youth group and fell in love with it,” Pennington said Monday. “As soon as I heard about it opening here, I begged my boyfriend to bring me.”

All photos courtesy of David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier

Story courtesy of Zach Irby/Bristol Herald Courier: Link

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Bristol developer Johnson donates $1M for United Way endowment fund

BRISTOL, Va. — There was a loud eruption of cheers and applause at the United Way of Bristol Wednesday morning when Bristol developer Steve Johnson pulled a black sheet off an oversized check.

Johnson donated $1 million to the organization’s newly created endowment fund. He proposed the endowment fund when he was campaign chairman nearly a decade ago and said the long-term goal is to fully fund the administrative side of the nonprofit so 100 percent of annual fundraising benefits more than 30 partner agencies.

“The needs of this region are tremendous,” Johnson said. “The things we take for granted like food and shelter — some people don’t have that. We need to eradicate those problems and giving back to the community means a lot to me. I’m fortunate that I can do it and help the United Way.”

Lisa Cofer, United Way executive director, said 92 cents of every dollar raised goes back into the community — while the remaining 8 cents supports the agency’s operating costs.

“I’m so overwhelmed that I don’t even know what to say,” Cofer said. “This is something that our staff of 18 years has dreamed about and through Steve’s donation we are well on our way towards meeting our endowment goal and that is something we will continue to work towards.”

Wednesday’s donation is not the first big check Johnson has handed over this month. On Dec. 7, Virginia Tech announced that Johnson gifted $1 million toward construction costs of the VT indoor practice facility at his alma mater.

Building a successful business footprint is what allows him to give back, said Johnson. He is president and owner of Bristol-based Johnson Commercial Development and developer of The Pinnacle, a giant retail center in Bristol, Tennessee.

“If you run your business right, you’ll end up financially successful,” he said. “To be in that position and able to give back — it gives me great joy. I also know that this year’s Bristol fund drive is about 20 percent short of its goal. I want everyone to pitch in this Christmas season, too.”

United Way of Bristol has raised $967,217 toward its total fundraising goal of $1.15 million. Donations can be made online by visiting www.unitedwaybristol.org or by mail: P.O. Box 696, Bristol, TN 37621.

All photos courtesy of David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier

Story courtesy of Zach Irby/Bristol Herald Courier: Link

Former Virginia Tech football players Milton Franklin, left, and Steve Johnson, share stories with Mike Quillen and his wife before the Bristol Chamber Annual Awards Tailgate Kickoff on Friday. The theme was the Battle at Bristol Football game with Virginia Tech and University of Tennessee.
Bristol developer makes $1 million donation to Virginia Tech

Bristol developer Steve Johnson has made a gift of $1,000,025 toward the construction costs of the Virginia Tech Indoor Practice Facility at his alma mater.

The Virginia Tech Athletics Department made the announcement Wednesday. Johnson also made a second leadership gift commitment to launch Phase 2 of the Merryman Center renovations, most specifically, the total renovation of McConnell Auditorium and team meeting rooms.

“Through Steve’s continued generosity, we will be able to continue the modernization of our athletics facilities at Virginia Tech,” said Director of Athletics Whit Babcock. “Our entire athletics department has benefitted from the Indoor Practice Facility and will again benefit from the Phase 2 renovations of the Merryman Center and McConnell Auditorium, which was originally constructed in 1996. The upgrades to our football meeting spaces will help keep the Hokies competitive with other nationally renowned programs and assist in our recruiting efforts of the best-and-brightest. On behalf of Hokies everywhere, we express our heartfelt gratitude to Steve for his ongoing dedication to helping students at Virginia Tech.”

Johnson currently serves as president and owner of Bristol, Virginia-based Johnson Commercial Development, one of the largest commercial developers in the Southeast. Johnson Commercial Development recently completed one of the largest commercial projects in the country, The Pinnacle, a one million-square-foot upscale retail development in Bristol, Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of Earl Neikirk/Bristol Herald Courier: Former Virginia Tech football players Milton Franklin, left, and Steve Johnson, share stories with Mike Quillen and his wife before the Bristol Chamber Annual Awards Tailgate Kickoff on Friday. The theme was the Battle at Bristol Football game with Virginia Tech and University of Tennessee.

Story courtesy of Robert Sorrell/Bristol Herald Courier: Link

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Update on Second Phase of the Pinnacle (Gallery)

Check out some aerial shots of the Second Phase of The Pinnacle.

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Bristol Prepares to Eat More Chicken

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Bristol native Josh Horner has been working for Chick-fil-A since he was 16 years old, and he was thrilled Wednesday to open his own franchise at The Pinnacle.

And he was especially happy that the opening came during race week.

It’s been four months since the groundbreaking and it’s exciting to open our doors during race week,” he said. “Not every Chick-fil-A can say that they have the opportunity to have customers from 50 states and 12 countries in a week’s time, but we can.”

Bristol Tennessee Mayor Lea Powers said that Horner’s success should be a testament to every young person in Bristol.

“Josh made a really good step when he started his first job with Chick-fil-A when he was 16,” Powers said. “Look where that choice has led him.

Horton said filling out his first application at the Bristol Mall franchise was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“I grew up in Bristol and being able to come home and open up a restaurant here is pretty neat,” he said. “I started my Chick-fil-A career 19 years ago at the age of 16 so being able to come home and create 75 new jobs is very exciting for me.”

The Pinnacle is off of Interstate 81’s Exit 74.

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Shoppers to get more Options

Tri-Cities shoppers will soon have even more options as the Pinnacle development in Bristol, Tennessee announced the addition of the Crescent and Tower Shops.

This next phase of retail and development will include retailers like Carter’s, Party City, GAP, Old Navy, Yankee Candle and much more.

Construction of this phase is expected to be complete by spring 2016.

It was also announced on Thursday that the region’s only CarMax will open in the summer of 2016.

When we spoke to developer Steve Johnson Thursday he says this is really just the beginning.

“I have a strong desire to build a amphitheater to host the biggest acts in the country, and we get music events in here, you know 15,000 strong on a monthly basis, that is the vision,” said Johnson.

Another venue coming to the Pinnacle will be a movie theater.

The Pinnacle 12 by Marquee Cinemas is expected to open sometime this fall.

It will be the region’s largest cinema at 54,000 square feet.

Officials also say construction should soon begin on restaurants like Steak and Shake and Panda Express.

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Second Phase of The Pinnacle Announced

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Thirty-six months ago, what is now The Pinnacle development was a 300-acre field. By spring 2016, the development will total more than 700,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment, developer Steve Johnson announced Thursday.

“The reason we’re here today is to announce the newest phase of The Pinnacle called the Crescent and Tower Shops,” Johnson said during a news conference. “It’s a lifestyle center with over 122,000 square feet that represents an added $30 million in private investment.”

Johnson said the types, style and quality of the tenants represent a total of $150 million in private investment and more than $200 million a year in total sales.

“There’s no question The Pinnacle has benefited the area economy,” Johnson said. “This development is providing a welcomed boost to the economies of our entire region. There have been over 2,000 construction jobs created because of our progress to date and over 1,500 full- and part-time jobs and we have more to come.”

Bristol Tennessee Mayor Lea Powers echoed Johnson’s statements.

“I think it speaks volumes that so many city councils, county commissions and chambers are represented here today,” Powers said. “We all understand that this project is the game-changer for our region. It has brought in jobs, marketability and is a huge engine of economic development that is very far reaching.”

Johnson said his vision is to stretch The Pinnacle from U.S. Highway 11W in Tennessee to Gate City Highway in Virginia.

“I’ve assembled the land to do just that,” he said. “The first half of the project all lies within Tennessee. The next half, which we are very much looking forward to, lies in Washington County, Virginia. We’re blazing a completely new trail with this development — it took us about 48 months from conception to where we are today and I think that within the next 36 to 48 months we could finish the second half.”

Part of the vision for the next phase is to add an amphitheater to the mix.

“I have a passion for music and I believe a world class venue here would kill it,” he said. “I have a strong desire to build an amphitheater to host the biggest acts in the country where we could get 15,000 people a month in here. That’s the vision, but I want to catch my breath and let things settle in first, but that’s where we’re headed.”

Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable said Johnson’s legacy will be much like that of football coach Vince Lombardi, who put together a team to accomplish great things.

“I lacked the talent, size and the smarts to play with the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots,” Venable said. “But I’m happy to be on the same team with Steve Johnson.”

The Crescent and Tower will house: Aveda, Carter’s, OshKosh, Christopher Banks, GAP, Old Navy, Party City, Surf & Dirt, Francesca’s, Justice, Kay Jewelers, Lane Bryant, LOFT, Maurice’s, Rack Room Shoes and Yankee Candle.

Johnson said there are a few more tenants that have not finalized their leases.

The Pinnacle Twelve by Marquee Cinemas, the 54,000-square-foot state-of-the art entertainment center, is expected to open this fall.

“It will have 12 screens, plush, high back rocking and reclining chairs, stadium seating, Real D 3D cinema technology as well as digital sound and projection,” he said.

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Bristol, Tennessee Has Moved West

If you have driven down Interstate 81 in Bristol, Tennessee, by The Pinnacle lately, especially at night, you have probably noticed that it looks like a city on a hill. The developer of The Pinnacle, Steve Johnson, remarked that it is like a small city that is growing, according to a Thursday report on The Kingsport Times News. He made the comparison while addressing the local civic and business leaders about the next upcoming expansion of The Pinnacle. It truly does seem as though the city of Bristol, Tennessee, has relocated to Highway 11W.

The already-sprawling shopping destination, centered on their anchor store Bass Pro Shops, will begin construction on a second phase of stores very soon, according to Johnson. This will bring The Pinnacle to 700,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment excitement. It is one of the largest and most quickly growing sites of its kind in the country. Among many perks provided for the local area, the construction process has also added around 2,000 jobs to the local economy since long before it opened in 2014.

The new stores and restaurants planned to open in spring 2016 include: Panda Express, Steak and Shake, Old Navy, Gap, Yankee Candle, Carter’s, OshKosh, LOFT, Francesca’s, Party City, and Justice. WJHL reports that a new Marquee Cinemas theater called The Pinnacle 12 will be opening in fall 2015. There is even more land available to be developed, so things are still moving forward at The Pinnacle.

One of the most exciting things that Johnson mentioned was the plans for a large amphitheater. He said the following to WJHL on Thursday about his hope for the future of The Pinnacle:

“I have a strong desire to build a amphitheater to host the biggest acts in the country, and we get music events in here, you know 15,000 strong on a monthly basis, that is the vision,” said Johnson.”

Yes, if you are looking for Bristol, Tennessee, don’t look on Volunteer Parkway or West State Street anymore. Just keep going on West State Street onto Highway 11 W until you arrive at The Pinnacle. You will see it; it’s the city on the hill.

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The Pinnacle Welcomes Bass Pro Shops®

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Thirty-six months ago, what is now The Pinnacle development was a 300-acre field. By spring 2016, the development will total more than 700,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment, developer Steve Johnson announced Thursday.

“The reason we’re here today is to announce the newest phase of The Pinnacle called the Crescent and Tower Shops,” Johnson said during a news conference. “It’s a lifestyle center with over 122,000 square feet that represents an added $30 million in private investment.”

Johnson said the types, style and quality of the tenants represent a total of $150 million in private investment and more than $200 million a year in total sales.

“There’s no question The Pinnacle has benefited the area economy,” Johnson said. “This development is providing a welcomed boost to the economies of our entire region. There have been over 2,000 construction jobs created because of our progress to date and over 1,500 full- and part-time jobs and we have more to come.”

Bristol Tennessee Mayor Lea Powers echoed Johnson’s statements.

“I think it speaks volumes that so many city councils, county commissions and chambers are represented here today,” Powers said. “We all understand that this project is the game-changer for our region. It has brought in jobs, marketability and is a huge engine of economic development that is very far reaching.”

Johnson said his vision is to stretch The Pinnacle from U.S. Highway 11W in Tennessee to Gate City Highway in Virginia.

“I’ve assembled the land to do just that,” he said. “The first half of the project all lies within Tennessee. The next half, which we are very much looking forward to, lies in Washington County, Virginia. We’re blazing a completely new trail with this development — it took us about 48 months from conception to where we are today and I think that within the next 36 to 48 months we could finish the second half.”

Part of the vision for the next phase is to add an amphitheater to the mix.

“I have a passion for music and I believe a world class venue here would kill it,” he said. “I have a strong desire to build an amphitheater to host the biggest acts in the country where we could get 15,000 people a month in here. That’s the vision, but I want to catch my breath and let things settle in first, but that’s where we’re headed.”

Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable said Johnson’s legacy will be much like that of football coach Vince Lombardi, who put together a team to accomplish great things.

“I lacked the talent, size and the smarts to play with the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots,” Venable said. “But I’m happy to be on the same team with Steve Johnson.”

The Crescent and Tower will house: Aveda, Carter’s, OshKosh, Christopher Banks, GAP, Old Navy, Party City, Surf & Dirt, Francesca’s, Justice, Kay Jewelers, Lane Bryant, LOFT, Maurice’s, Rack Room Shoes and Yankee Candle.

Johnson said there are a few more tenants that have not finalized their leases.

The Pinnacle Twelve by Marquee Cinemas, the 54,000-square-foot state-of-the art entertainment center, is expected to open this fall.

“It will have 12 screens, plush, high back rocking and reclining chairs, stadium seating, Real D 3D cinema technology as well as digital sound and projection,” he said.