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Renovation expected to begin soon on old depot

Sunday - 1/13/2013, 11:23am  ET

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Work could begin next month on restoration and renovation of the century old Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Railroad Depot in Johnson City.

Developer Greg Cox told the Johnson City Press ( the old depot is in relatively good condition, despite needing substantial roof repair. It will become a location of Ashville, N.C.-based Tupelo Honey Cafe.

"Everybody talks about how it's falling down. It's really not falling down. They built it to last," Cox said.

A security fence and a construction trailer have been set up at the depot, which was built in 1909.

Final plans for the renovation will be presented at the end of the month to the city's Historic Zoning Commission.

Sevierville attorney and entrepreneur Joe Baker bought the depot from the Johnson City Development Authority in July for $5,000. The agency had purchased it in 2010 from a real estate company that repossessed it. Baker said he intended to open a brewery and a locally themed restaurant.

Rainey Contracting will renovate the building.

"We're doing most of the work. They're (Tupelo Honey) not going to do a ton and hopefully they'll be doing that in conjunction with us until we get six to eight months down the road," Cox said. "They probably need two months to get their stuff done and then they're going to want to staff up and train."

The developers plan to renovate the first floor for retail space and the upper portion, where the depot's offices used to be, will be built into separate offices that can be rented.

The one major change will involve creating an entrance to the office portion of the building.

Cox has been working on the project for more than a year and said it is exciting that residents of the area will soon start to see changes.

"I really have a passion for downtown, and I think with the depot, people will start realizing downtown Johnson City can be a fun, attractive, safe place to go and so that's my favorite thing about it. It looks like it's finally going to happen," he said.


Information from: Johnson City Press,

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