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Old 03-17-2017, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 822,002 times
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The wage growth is definitely good news. Measuring wage by metro tends to hurt this region because of the poor rural areas. Is it possible to drill down to city level? I know you can do this with Census data and it paints a different picture. Comparing income figures to places like Morristown, Clarksville, and even Knoxville, Johnson City is comparable and in the case of Morristown, way above.

Johnson City, and to a lesser extent Kingsport, while not economic powerhouses, are holding their own. I'm still confident that Johnson City's move towards becoming an outdoor adventure destination will pay off in terms of future economic development. What a great location for manufacturers of outdoor recreation equipment! Look up Montrose, CO if you want to see an economic development model that could be successful in this region.
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,316 posts, read 21,228,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
The wage growth is definitely good news. Measuring wage by metro tends to hurt this region because of the poor rural areas. Is it possible to drill down to city level? I know you can do this with Census data and it paints a different picture. Comparing income figures to places like Morristown, Clarksville, and even Knoxville, Johnson City is comparable and in the case of Morristown, way above.

Johnson City, and to a lesser extent Kingsport, while not economic powerhouses, are holding their own. I'm still confident that Johnson City's move towards becoming an outdoor adventure destination will pay off in terms of future economic development. What a great location for manufacturers of outdoor recreation equipment! Look up Montrose, CO if you want to see an economic development model that could be successful in this region.
I pulled the data off Core-Data. I doubt you could get breakdowns down to the city proper. Kingsport has a lot of lower income residents in the core city limits, while outlying areas tend to be better off.
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:50 AM
 
Location: Kingsport
182 posts, read 213,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
I pulled the data off Core-Data. I doubt you could get breakdowns down to the city proper. Kingsport has a lot of lower income residents in the core city limits, while outlying areas tend to be better off.
There's a total wage Census entry on a quarterly basis that is county based. It lags by about two quarters.
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,316 posts, read 21,228,906 times
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This thread has gone inactive, but a lot of new and interesting data came out recently. Some highlights below.

https://donfenley.com/2017/09/12/sul...far-this-year/

New commercial building permits in Tri-Cities were down 16% for the first half of this year vs. the same period last year, and building permit values were down as well. Sullivan County had most of the decline, Washington County was flat, and most of the other counties were mildly positive. This points to Sullivan County having substantial declines to drag the multicounty figure down this bad if most everywhere else was at least flat.

Real GDP figures in Washington County, TN have now topped the high from before the Great Recession, as well as Washington, Wise (!), and Lee (!!!?) counties in VA. The Johnson City MSA GDP figures are almost back to where they were (obviously dragged down by Carter and Unicoi counties with Washington County being recovered). Kingsport-Bristol real GDP figures are still declining. This data was pulled from the National Association of Counties. I have not had time to go back to the source and sift through their stuff to see what other useful info they have.

The Pinnacle has shifted retail activity toward Bristol and away from Kingsport, but seems to have had little impact on the Johnson City retail market. Personally, I have a Kingsport address, but live within fifteen minutes of The Pinnacle, and almost never stop in Kingsport unless I'm eating before or after work. Job growth and higher wages are making a strong positive impact in Washington County, TN, but low wages and underemployment remain headwinds in Kingsport-Bristol.

The Washington County rental market is basically stable, with some higher end units having coming online in recent years and the area being in demand. In Kingsport-Bristol, several complexes have come online in the past year or so, and that appears to be putting some downward pressure on rents, with it being unclear how fully the complexes are occupied.
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 822,002 times
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I was just about to post this. It's one of the better recent summaries I've seen of the region's economy and really outlines how Kingsport-Bristol is treading water/sinking while Johnson City is really doing quite well. Even more shocking is that Sullivan County, with 40,000+ more people and two principal cities still lagged Washington County in commercial permits. The private-sector wage increases and residential construction in JC also point to a growing economy.

The Pinnacle and its impact doesn't surprise me at all and is essentially what I predicted when the project was announced. It was billed as a regional destination that would draw shoppers from throughout the Tri-Cities and beyond but that obviously isn't happening. Heck, most of the stores at the Pinnacle have JC locations currently or will soon and the entire development looks like something that would've been built 15-20 years ago.

Another interesting tidbit that I'm noticing is the increase in visioning/development of the smaller JC metro cities. Erwin is poised to take off and is seeing increased downtown development, has gig internet, and a strong young professionals organization. Elizabethton isn't as far along but has a core group of young professionals along with a plan in development to better capitalize on outdoor recreational opportunities and become a more livable city able to build off of Johnson City's growth. The Northeast TN Regional Partnership (NETREP), formerly the Washington County Economic Development Council, is making a concerted effort to promote the entire JC metro as one region with a singular vision. Sullivan County was invited to join but declined. I think the metro has finally realized that they need to move beyond the singular focus of manufacturing/industry and better promote the amazing natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities offered. These quality of life assets are important to millennials and are becoming a bigger driver in relocation decisions for companies and workers.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Gray, TN
2,158 posts, read 3,952,743 times
Reputation: 906
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
This thread has gone inactive, but a lot of new and interesting data came out recently. Some highlights below.

https://donfenley.com/2017/09/12/sul...far-this-year/

New commercial building permits in Tri-Cities were down 16% for the first half of this year vs. the same period last year, and building permit values were down as well. Sullivan County had most of the decline, Washington County was flat, and most of the other counties were mildly positive. This points to Sullivan County having substantial declines to drag the multicounty figure down this bad if most everywhere else was at least flat.
I wonder how much of the period to period variance is Pinnacle related. Also When would Eastman have pulled permits for its new building. Maybe last year was the blip and this year is a return to normal for Sullivan?
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,316 posts, read 21,228,906 times
Reputation: 34727
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
I was just about to post this. It's one of the better recent summaries I've seen of the region's economy and really outlines how Kingsport-Bristol is treading water/sinking while Johnson City is really doing quite well. Even more shocking is that Sullivan County, with 40,000+ more people and two principal cities still lagged Washington County in commercial permits. The private-sector wage increases and residential construction in JC also point to a growing economy.

The Pinnacle and its impact doesn't surprise me at all and is essentially what I predicted when the project was announced. It was billed as a regional destination that would draw shoppers from throughout the Tri-Cities and beyond but that obviously isn't happening. Heck, most of the stores at the Pinnacle have JC locations currently or will soon and the entire development looks like something that would've been built 15-20 years ago.

Another interesting tidbit that I'm noticing is the increase in visioning/development of the smaller JC metro cities. Erwin is poised to take off and is seeing increased downtown development, has gig internet, and a strong young professionals organization. Elizabethton isn't as far along but has a core group of young professionals along with a plan in development to better capitalize on outdoor recreational opportunities and become a more livable city able to build off of Johnson City's growth. The Northeast TN Regional Partnership (NETREP), formerly the Washington County Economic Development Council, is making a concerted effort to promote the entire JC metro as one region with a singular vision. Sullivan County was invited to join but declined. I think the metro has finally realized that they need to move beyond the singular focus of manufacturing/industry and better promote the amazing natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities offered. These quality of life assets are important to millennials and are becoming a bigger driver in relocation decisions for companies and workers.
I agree. I was out at Yee-Haw last night and I talked to a guy who lives in Johnson City, but also works in Kingsport. He said he doesn't like Kingsport a bit, but does like Johnson City. I'm also in this boat and I bet there are a lot of adults under 40 who feel the same way. I remember a time when there was a near parity between Kingsport and Johnson City. That gap has substantially grown, and while Johnson City has improved significantly, Kingsport has also declined.

When the mall theaters shut down, that left Kingsport without a movie theater in the core city for a number of years. I can't think of another town off the top of my head of Kingsport's size that doesn't have a theater - even the full blown Rust Belt towns I'm familiar with in Indiana that are really struggling still have one. When I was growing up, there were at least three.

Other than restaurants, there really isn't much "middle class retail" left on Stone Drive before you get to The Pavilion. It is full of rent to own stores, title loan/payday lenders, "check cashing" outfits, cash for gold, etc. Maybe it's just because I've lived in really affluent areas that I notice this stuff more now and maybe it really was there all along, but it just doesn't seem like Stone Drive was this low end fifteen or twenty years ago. While JC has these businesses, they don't seem to dominant a main retail corridor like they do in Kingsport.

I was in downtown Kingsport by the library last week to run an errand and get something to eat before I caught a flight. This was like 11 on Friday morning, and a guy got up from the bench he was laying on, shot up some substance (probably heroin), took a deep breath, and laid back down. A couple months ago, I had to shove a homeless guy off me that wouldn't let up on the panhandling and got up in my face. While this could happen anywhere, the fact that it was so brazen makes me think the police don't even enforce vagrancy laws and such. I think the JC police probably would respond to these kinds of problems. Kingsport - I'm not sure.

Another thing that I think is telling is that New Again Houses, a local home renovation/flipping company, has several updated homes in core Kingsport they've been stuck with for months. The prices are reasonable and the homes are nice. Even the ones in Bristol are selling well, but the ones in the core of Kingsport are sitting, even after price cuts and additional incentives (on one home, they've offered to fence the yard in for free). I would love to see what days on market, selling prices, how many times prices were cut, etc., are for the Kingsport city limits, especially if you throw out annexed areas out in the county (Kingsport annexed some county land near the old Sams site before it closed) that are not by any measure of good sense the city and Colonial Heights, which is separated from the urban core a good bit and is basically its own little suburb. It would probably be quite illuminating.

The Pinnacle is basically a consolidation of existing retail from Kingsport, the Bristol Mall, and to a lesser extent, Exit 7. It's nice, it's relatively close to where I live, but aside from the great theater, there's just not a lot there that also isn't in Johnson City.

If I didn't work in Kingsport, I'd never go there. Period. Once the merger situation settles, I'm likely going to buy or rent in Johnson City. I would consider some parts of Bristol on an outside chance. I'm not considering Kingsport at all.

With Eastman, Wellmont, and HMG, Kingsport has some level of baseline stability and jobs base. If the merger goes through, the Wellmont corporate offices may end up with job losses as we transition to Ballad Health. That would be a major blow to lose a lot of well-paying office jobs. Still, Kingsport has a lot of issues that are going to be turn-offs for a lot of people. If you were from outside the area and were interviewing for a job in Kingsport, would you be encouraged by what you see there?

I didn't know Erwin had gig internet. At $69.95/month, that's the same price of Chattanooga's EPB. While I don't think Erwin will turn into the next Chattanooga, this may be a selling point to some people and puts future infrastructure in place. For me, Erwin is roughly equidistant between Asheville and my current office. I would prefer to go on natural gas if available and it looks core Erwin does have it. If something did happen to my current job down the line, being in Erwin would at least open Asheville up as well.

I agree there needs to be more promotion of natural beauty/outdoor activities, and that we need to diversify the economy more toward that end. JC seems to be doing a good job of that. There has been incremental progress in improving the quality of the job throughout the region, but it has been in fits and starts, and I still know a lot of white collar professional types who were not able to find anything decent here. Outdoor beauty is well and good, but people go where jobs are. People are flocking to Dallas even though it has no natural beauty at all.
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,316 posts, read 21,228,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rccrain View Post
I wonder how much of the period to period variance is Pinnacle related. Also When would Eastman have pulled permits for its new building. Maybe last year was the blip and this year is a return to normal for Sullivan?
It's a reasonable assumption. You could conceivably have a lot of things get filed within one six month period by different big entities that were expanding then, then have slow periods after that as the big ticket items have already come up
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 822,002 times
Reputation: 449
Quote:
I agree. I was out at Yee-Haw last night and I talked to a guy who lives in Johnson City, but also works in Kingsport. He said he doesn't like Kingsport a bit, but does like Johnson City. I'm also in this boat and I bet there are a lot of adults under 40 who feel the same way. I remember a time when there was a near parity between Kingsport and Johnson City. That gap has substantially grown, and while Johnson City has improved significantly, Kingsport has also declined.
This is the biggest issue facing Kingsport and I don't know how, or even if, that can change. Kingsport is just not an attractive city and is not they type of place young professionals want to live. The city can add all the amenities and beautification it wants but it just lacks the energy and vibe of Johnson City.

Quote:
Other than restaurants, there really isn't much "middle class retail" left on Stone Drive before you get to The Pavilion. It is full of rent to own stores, title loan/payday lenders, "check cashing" outfits, cash for gold, etc. Maybe it's just because I've lived in really affluent areas that I notice this stuff more now and maybe it really was there all along, but it just doesn't seem like Stone Drive was this low end fifteen or twenty years ago. While JC has these businesses, they don't seem to dominant a main retail corridor like they do in Kingsport.
The loss of so much retail should be one of Kingsport's biggest worry. Tennessee is so sales tax driven that a continual leakage of retail dollars will eventually necessitate higher property taxes and other fees. As brick and mortar stores continue to decline in numbers and consolidate in larger cities, Kingsport will suffer. As recent as the mid-90's Kingsport led the region in retail sales with this trend beginning back in the 1950's.

Quote:
With Eastman, Wellmont, and HMG, Kingsport has some level of baseline stability and jobs base. If the merger goes through, the Wellmont corporate offices may end up with job losses as we transition to Ballad Health. That would be a major blow to lose a lot of well-paying office jobs. Still, Kingsport has a lot of issues that are going to be turn-offs for a lot of people. If you were from outside the area and were interviewing for a job in Kingsport, would you be encouraged by what you see there?
I'm of the opinion that the merger will go through and I sure hope it does because if not, it's likely that Wellmont and MSHA will both be purchased by entities outside the region and the local economic impact would not be pretty. I don't think Kingsport will lose all corporate jobs in the merger but I could see a number of them going to Johnson City, where I think Ballad Health will be headquartered. In fact, the restored Model Mill will be looking for tenants to fill Class A office space and Ballad would be one the few companies here with that type of money. Additionally the unique facility, in a walkable area, with proximity to ETSU and downtown would be a great recruiting tool.

Indian Path will probably close and Holston Valley would lose its Level I trauma designation. All this is, of course, pure speculation but I see this merger situation as a lose-lose for Kingsport. No merger resulting in acquisition, though, would be the bigger loss.

I've said it before but the Tri-Cities is slowly shifting to a Johnson City-based region. Possibly the only reason that hasn't happened yet is the existence of Eastman in Kingsport but even that can't stop the tide.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Kingsport
182 posts, read 213,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
I've said it before but the Tri-Cities is slowly shifting to a Johnson City-based region. Possibly the only reason that hasn't happened yet is the existence of Eastman in Kingsport but even that can't stop the tide.
The sooner the region's three cities get past their dysfunctional tribal differences the sooner the strengths of the region can be put to developing a better future. Eastman is down to 4,600 full-time employees and it's not unreasonable to think that total will go lower with more outsourcing and contracting. Eastman is definitely a major player but so is MHA and other private sector employers who get a lot less attention.
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