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 are 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 “the place to be” in Northeast Tennessee.

For more information about the local area market and business opportunities, view our 2018 Business Investment Guide. To set up an appointment for a walking tour of downtown and investment opportunities, contact Dianna Cantler at 423-342-3540.

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 the loan program, follow this link.

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, opened in 2016. The pavilion is located directly to the east of Founders Park and is available for other events as well.
  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Cherry Street Warehouses

A once blighted area along State of Franklin has been given a new facade, turning an old tobacco warehouse into a thriving shopping area. New retailers and service businesses have now filled the space, with more to come.

  • Downtown Buffalo St. & E. Market St. Project  

Downtown Water & Sewer Infrastructure
• Most water and sewerlines are approximately 100 years old in downtown Johnson City.

• The existing large diameter sewerline under Buffalo St. was installed around 1970 and has been included into this project in order to provide service for the next 100 years.

• The existing water and sewerlines under E. Market St. were installed in the early 1900’s and have been included into this project in order to provide service for the next 100 years.

• This project is titled the Downtown Water & Wastewater System Improvements Project, and it involves 2 phases to complete over 2,600 ft. of sewer lining and over 550 ft. of waterline installation.
Phase I
 Phase I will involve the pipe-within-a-pipe rehabilitation of the large diameter sewerline under Buffalo St. from the Cherry St. intersection to past the S. Roan St. Intersection.
 Phase I is projected to occur from October 1st to approx. December 31, 2019.
 Possible Phase I downtown impacts:
o Closure of brick paver area in median of Buffalo St./Tipton St. intersection for up to 2 months for sewer construction activities.
o Temporary road ramp across Buffalo Street near Tipton St. intersection.
o Temporary road and sidewalk closures along Buffalo St. and State of Franklin Road.
o Loss of parking parallel to Buffalo St. in the areas where the contractor is working.
o Night and/or weekend work during rehabilitation of the sewerline.
Phase II
• Phase II will involve water and sewer work on E. Market St. from Buffalo St. to S. Roan St.
• Phase II is projected to occur from January 1st to March 31, 2020.
• Phase II will involve the open cut installation of a new waterline, new water service lines, and new fire sprinkler connections.
• Phase II will also include the pipe-within-a-pipe rehabilitation of the sewerline on E Market St.
• Possible Phase II downtown impacts:
o E Market St. from Buffalo St. to S. Roan St. will be closed to thru traffic during construction for up to 3 months.
o Temporary sidewalk closures on E Market St. from Buffalo St. to S. Roan St during road closure.
o Loss of parking parallel to E. Market St. in the areas where the contractor is working.
Additional Project Information
• The City of Johnson City will be reinvesting over $1 million in the project, and the project also includes Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding.
• Project is estimated to begin construction around October 1, 2019 and is planned to be completed in 180 calendar days once contractor begins work.