State working toward moving services to former Big Lots building

Published 5:22 pm Thursday, June 28, 2018

One shopping center on the east side of the city will soon be the home of various services offered by the state.

The Elizabethton Star recently learned that the State of Tennessee has leased the former Big Lots building, nestled in the Betsytowne Shopping Center on State Line Road, and will use the space as the new home for the Carter County Department of Human and Children’s Services, Department of Safety, Driver’s License Center and local Tennessee Highway Patrol Office. Each of the services are located in buildings on Cherokee Park Drive. Big Lots made the move from Betsytowne to West Elk Avenue last year. Documents indicated the property was purchased earlier this year by local developers, D&D Properties.

According to the lease agreement, the state will operate out of the building for seven years, with the option for three one-year renewals. The cost of the agreement for the first year is $144,000 annually for 12,000 square feet of office space. Department of Safety will lease space in the building for their one seven-year contract, with three one-year renewable leases, for an annual payment of $50,400. Over 20 employees will be housed in the building, including 22 case workers and six state troopers. Lease agreement details also include the owner to construct a gated staff parking area to hold roughly 25 vehicles. 

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Since the announcement, the Elizabethton Star has received inquiries about the potential timeline of when the move will occur.

Rob Johnson, communication director for the State DCS, was able to shed light on the issue, indicating that an estimated timeline is still to be determined.

“Per our facilities staff, we don’t have a time frame for the move yet, as we must now work with architects to design and build out the space to meet our needs,” Johnson told the Elizabethton Star.

Development at Betsytowne started kicking up last year following the move of Big Lots. The shopping center of the building was purchased in June 2017 by Marathon Realty Corporation for $1.3 million, which included the center and over eight acres of land, from SAND, LLC, based out of Elizabethton.

Since the purchase, a well-known restaurant from the community announced it’ll soon be reopening in the shopping center. The Mayflower seafood restaurant is currently undergoing renovations and is reportedly slated to open its doors to the public August 1. Other vacant spots in the center are currently being marketed by Marathon.

Additional information on development at the location will be announced when information is made available.