Summers-Taylor braces for new location

Published 9:59 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

With a well-known working relationship staying together, Summers-Tayor Construction is preparing for the new move to Washington County.
Summers-Taylor entered into a sales contract on Thursday to purchase the General Mills property in Johnson City with plans to move their West Elk Avenue office to the location.
“We had been thinking about the concept of moving for a little while,” Summers-Taylor company president Grant Summers said. “Geographically, it made sense for us to move to a more centralized location to service the cities and counties. Once we came across the building, we explored the concept of purchasing it. We felt like this was the perfect opportunity to us to move and restore a historic building in Washington County.”
The sales contract for the property was approved during the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce meeting Thursday. Summers added their is a 90-day due diligence phase that will be followed by a 60-day time frame for the deal to be closed.
Moving to the facility in Washington County presents a wealth of options for the company, Summers added. The West Elk office will be moved in General Mills property with Summers adding that would take up just 25 to 30 percent of the building.
“We’re still in the planning phases,” Summers said about what other opportunities could be included in the building. “Right now it’s just about getting the building and going from there to start talking with other companies.”
The sense of preserving a well-known building in Washington County was hard to pass up, Summers said.
While the building is a historic site for the community, Washington County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Mabrey said Thursday, the property is not on the National Registry of Historic Places so it will not be subject to any of the restrictions that typically come with renovating a historic site.
While Summers-Taylor will not face those restrictions Mabrey said “we have a sense they will preserve it.”
Summers-Taylor will still operate their plant from Watauga, Grant added.
“We’ve had a couple of conversations with the city,” he said. “We’re still going to have our plant in Watauga and service the needs of Elizabethton and Carter County.”
Elizabethton Planning and Development Director Jon Hartman said that while they hate to see the office go, they’re excited for the local company.
“I talked with Mr. Summers early this morning,” he said. “We’re happy to see the success for him and his family with the business.”
Hartman added the city will look at the ramifications moving forward.
“At this point, we’re going to analyze the impact tax revenue stream,” he said. “We’re also going to look at the daytime workforce population and the transition phase as the company moves.”
The director added that the city will work with Summers-Taylor during the move and while the West Elk office will be vacated for a period of time, he expects businesses will bite on the location.
“We’re obviously going to continue to work with Summers-Taylor moving forward,” Hartman said. “They’ve been such a staple in the community and we’re looking forward to continuing that relationship moving forward.”
Even though it is just across the county line, the Summers-Taylor president said the decision wasn’t easy.
“It was a tough decision,” Summers said. “It’s been great in Elizabethton and we’ve always enjoyed our time here. We’ve been at this location for 80 years but we still plan on serving the needs of the area. We are excite excited about what the future holds.”

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