BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Pinnacle commercial development is effectively doubling in size, after developer Steve Johnson completed the purchase of adjoining land in Washington County, Va.
Johnson and Pinnacle Partners LLC paid $3.14 million to Henard Enterprises Inc. for the remainder of the former Bristol West property, which will join about 200 acres he has been developing near Interstate 81’s Exit 74 in Bristol, Tenn.
“Occupying two states and covering 500 acres, this has evolved into the super regional development that had always been envisioned. It will serve Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, western North Carolina and eastern Kentucky. It is the largest development of its kind currently in the country,” Johnson told the Bristol Herald Courier Thursday.
The Virginia portion extends from the Tennessee line and Bristol West Boulevard — just behind the Tennessee welcome center — eastward to Miller Hill Road near Gate City Highway and Interstate 81’s Exit 1, according to records on file with the Washington County, Va., Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.
“As planned from this project’s inception, I have purchased or have agreements to purchase all of the land necessary for phase two of The Pinnacle project,” Johnson said. “This allows The Pinnacle to be accessed from both Highway 11 in Tennessee and the Gate City Highway by way of Miller Hill Road in Virginia.”
The Virginia portion is expected to include additional retail, a state-of-the-art 7,000-seat amphitheater, recreation areas, professional, medical and multi-family residential development, Johnson said.
Contractors are currently moving about 2 million cubic yards of dirt and rock to prepare the Tennessee portion of the site for new shopping, dining and entertainment businesses.
“Bass Pro is on track to open in the early spring of 2014 and the Belk-anchored complex will open in early spring of 2015,” he said. “The Tennessee property is mostly committed. We were committed to fulfilling the project in Tennessee first. There are some retailers who want to be part of The Pinnacle that we don’t have room for and some retailers who want to be in Virginia.”
Besides Bass Pro Shops and Belk — the only named tenants — Johnson said he has commitments for an additional 500,000 square feet of tenant space in Tennessee. The Virginia segment has more land that can be easily developed, he added.
“I know the public is anxious to know who is coming and we will make those announcements in the very near future,” Johnson said.
The Tennessee portion of The Pinnacle will be partially funded by recouping sales tax revenues through Tennessee legislation for large developments in border communities. That doesn’t apply to Washington County, Va., which has been at odds with Bristol, Va., because the city is using similar legislation to develop The Falls near Interstate 81’s Exit 5.
County leaders have unsuccessfully attempted to be included in that legislation.
“We haven’t had much encouragement from our legislators that we could be added to the bill,” Washington County, Va., Administrator Nadine Culbertson said. “Not having the tools that Bristol has for The Falls really shuts Washington County down for the term of that bill.”
The county “welcomes the opportunity” to become part of The Pinnacle development, Culbertson said.
The Pinnacle is one of three major commercial developments announced for the region. Site work is also under way at The Falls and Heritage Point Town Center at the junction of Interstate 81 and Interstate 26 between Kingsport and Johnson City.