Downtown Johnson City Revitalization

It’s a great time for companies to locate in downtown Johnson City because:

  • Available real estate with tremendous investment opportunities is plentiful.
  • A variety of incentives exist.
  • Many recent public investments have taken place.
  • Some substantial projects have happened recently that are progressively boosting momentum downtown.

Downtown Johnson City has seen tremendous revitalization efforts in the last few years and is currently on the cusp of becoming “the place to be” in the Johnson City area.

Available Real Estate

Real estate in downtown Johnson City is available for a broad range of business types. Smaller spaces are available to accommodate restaurants and shops, and larger spaces and buildings are available to accommodate projects such as: office space developments, residential complexes, and breweries. For more information on available real estate downtown, contact us or visit our Sites and Buildings database.


A variety of incentives exist for projects in downtown Johnson City that meet certain criteria. A Façade Grant program, Tax Increment Funding and Historic Tax Credits are available. The Northeast Tennessee Economic Development Corporation administers the Johnson City Downtown Redevelopment Loan Program with funding from eight banks. For more information on incentives, contact us or visit the Commercial Incentives section at here..

Public Improvements

Recent public improvements have enhanced the aesthetic appearance of downtown Johnson City tremendously, attracting more foot-traffic and generating more interest from private investment.

  • Founders Park was completed in 2014. The park hosts an amphitheater area on the east side, allowing for concerts and performances, and a “great lawn” on the west side for sports, events, and festivals.
  • The Pavilion at Founders Park, the new home of the Johnson City Farmers Market, is set to be completed fall 2015. The pavilion will be located directly to the east of Founders Park and will be available for other events as well.
  • Streetscaping along Buffalo Street and State of Franklin Road is complete and all streets in the downtown area will be updated by 2018.
  • The State of Franklin Multi-Purpose Trail connects downtown Johnson City to East Tennessee State University and the Millennium Centre.
  • The Tweetsie Trail, a 10-mile multipurpose trail connecting downtown Johnson City to Elizabethton, was completed in 2014. The opening of the Elizabethton section of the trail was celebrated in September 2015. The trail follows the old East Tennessee & Western North Carolina railroad line and is a part of the Rails to Trails initiative. The Tweetsie Trail will connect to the State of Franklin Multi-Purpose Trail soon.
  • Sixteen pieces of public art have been installed throughout downtown Johnson City and along the corridor to East Tennessee State University. The Public Art Walking Tour was established in July 2014.

Recent Projects

  • Tupelo Honey Cafe

In June 2014, the Asheville, North Carolina, based restaurant Tupelo Honey Cafe opened their doors inside the rehabilitated CC&O railroad depot in downtown Johnson City. The project was a $2 million investment and created 80 new jobs. The restored depot is filled with historical décor of Johnson City and truly honors the community.

  • Paxton Place Apartments

In January 2014, Paxton Place luxury apartments opened at the corner of East State of Franklin Road and South Roan Street. The 26-unit complex was a $2 million investment and replaced two buildings that had been vacant in downtown Johnson City.

  • London’s Lofts

The London Holdings building downtown was rehabilitated in a $1.2 million residential and retail project. The 2nd and 3rd floors of the building host 20 one and two-bedroom lofts and the first floor is the home of the Trek Bicycle Store.

  • Northeast State Community College

In August 2015, Northeast State Community College officially opened their doors to begin classes in a new downtown Johnson City location. The college had been rehabilitating the former Washington County Courthouse since early 2012 and the project represents a $3.2 million investment. Within three years, Northeast State expects an enrollment of 1,000 students.

  • Yee-Haw Brewing and White Duck Taco

In May 2015, Yee-Haw Brewing began operations in the rehabilitated East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (Tweetsie) railroad depot in downtown Johnson City. Simultaneously, the Asheville, North Carolina based restaurant, White Duck Taco, also opened their doors at the Tweetsie depot.