I realize spirits are running low in McTaxville right now after our beloved city government broke the horrible news on Thursday it’s leaning toward a 13-cent tax increase. The news was so bad, it brought unhappy emojis to the Standard’s Facebook page.
This comes a month after county government tried to break our collective heart by passing a 28-cent tax increase. All these new taxes are as depressing as a Nicolas Cage movie, especially “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “The Rock” and “Snake Eyes,” which are just terrible pieces of cinema.
Unfortunately for local residents, our higher property taxes are going last far longer than any Nicolas Cage marriage. Legend has it, Cage once tried to file for an annulment after four days of marriage, suggesting his home persona may be worse than his acting.
I don’t know how I got sidetracked on this Nicolas Cage tangent – oh yeah, talking about things that are depressing – so let’s change gears and think happy thoughts.
I have great news when it comes to one of McMinnville’s greatest retail eyesores. No, I’m not talking about the old Fraley’s building that’s suffocating the vitality of East Main Street with its enduring emptiness.
I’m talking about the old Shockley’s Carpet property on Chancery Street, which has clearly seen its better days. Local developer Waymon Hale has purchased the property, which is sandwiched between Little Caesars and the car cleanup shop.
Waymon says he’s going to turn the property into a sparkling new strip shopping center with all the trimmings. He says the development will look great when he’s done, much like his building on Sparta Street across from Best Western Tree City Inn.
“It’s going to be a real nice storefront with either brick or stone,” said Waymon. “It’s going to look like we’re dressing up McMinnville as much as we can. McMinnville is growing and we want to be a part of it.”
To accomplish this amazing transformation, Waymon is going to remove two of the three buildings on the property. The collapsing house which sits just a few steps from the road was built in 1930 and looks every bit its age. That house will be removed.
The brick building with large windows in front will also be torn down. It was built in 1974, according to county records.
The metal warehouse building in the back that runs parallel with the road is the only building which will remain. Waymon says he’s going to use that as a base for a shopping center that will have several bays.
“We’re going to give that metal building in the back a complete facelift,” said Waymon. “Based on what that lot has looked like the past 20 years, this is going to be a real improvement for Chancery Street.”
Once the two front buildings are removed, the parking issues at that site will be allieviated. The way Waymon describes it, we’re going to have a nice shopping center where we currently have an undesirable shopping area. This should be a notch in the win column.
As for possible tenants at Waymon's new shopping center, I hear only one is finalized – a Mexican restaurant. Only joking!
Waymon says he hopes to get started in around three months. The editors of Business Pulse appreciate his commitment to McMinnville.
Since I’m on the topic of property that’s in desperate need of some tender loving care, allow me to turn my attention to the old AmSouth Bank building on West Main Street, which before that was the old First American Bank.
I understand time slips away, but it’s hard to believe that building has been vacant for more than 11 years. It’s not hard to believe based on the building’s current appearance. It’s hard to believe because it doesn’t seem like that long ago I was doing my banking there.
The poor condition of the building, located at 357 West Main Street, has caught the attention of McMinnville Historic Zoning Commission members, who discussed it at a recent meeting.
“I would like for us to have an open mind about looking at a piece of property in the historic district,” said Tom Ward, a commission member. “It’s the property of the old First American building. It’s deteriorating, in my humble opinion, beyond repair. If you look inside the building, you can see the ceiling tiles are all falling down. There’s obviously roofing issues. They aren’t keeping up the property.”
Commission member Rachel Killebrew added, “It used to be a beautiful place.”
Oak Ridge-based realtor Tony Cappiello bought the property in January 2008 for $600,000, according to county records. To illustrate the painful point that real estate doesn’t always increase in value, the property was last listed with a purchase price of $394,000. That’s a nasty $206,000 loss to swallow and that’s if someone walks up and pays full asking price, not likely.
Perhaps made aware of Historic Zoning Commission concerns, workers were on site Friday chopping, mowing, and clearing some of the sprawling overgrowth.
The property was placed on the Historic Zoning Commission agenda for August for continued discussion.
Kim McCarty has joined the staff of Colonial Realty as an affiliate broker. That in itself might not seem like breaking news, but what is particularly interesting is Kim has 25 years of real estate experience in Ohio.
With that introduction, I had to ask her how the real estate market in Warren County compares to her hometown of Sidney, Ohio, which is about two hours north of Cincinnati. Kim says there are many similarities.
“Sidney is a little bigger, probably around 20,000 people, but both are the same in that they’re one-Walmart, one-McDonald’s towns,” said Kim. “The prices I’m seeing here seem to be comparable to what we were selling for in Sidney.”
Giving a quick analysis of our local real estate market, Kim says we need more entry-level homes in the $80,000 to the $125,000 range.
“I’ve worked with a lot of first-time homebuyers and they need something they can afford,” said Kim. “Even if it’s a two-bedroom, two bath with a simple lot, or a three-bedroom, two-bath, there’s a value in home ownership. People make it their own and they take pride in it. That leads to pride in the community.”
Kim and her family didn’t relocate here by throwing a dart at a map. Her mother-in-law lives in Smithville so they wanted to relocate to Middle Tennessee and she said they absolutely fell in love with Warren County and all its splendor.
Kim has an interesting slogan that goes, “McCarty, McMoving, McMinnville.” She offers use of her personal box truck for clients who buy or sell through her.
Kim can be reached at Colonial Realty, 402 Sunnyside Heights, at 473-9567. Her direct line is (931) 800- 4KIM.
On the grow
Gov. Bill Lee was on hand Tuesday for a grand announcement at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Citing a report from the Tennessee Department of Tourism, Gov. Lee announced statewide tourism continues to reach all-time high levels.
Among the catchy statistics is this nugget -- tourists spent an average of $60 million per day last year in Tennessee. It was also announced the state attracted 119 million visitors in 2018, up from 113 million the year before.
All 95 counties in Tennessee saw an increase in tourism spending, the state said. Travel in Tennessee generated roughly 189,700 jobs and $1.81 billion in state and local tax revenue, it was announced.
Rock Island State Park, Cumberland Caverns, Isha, and kayaking are some of our biggest tourism draws.
It’s always been said tourism dollars are a tremendous boost because people come here, spend money, and then they go back home. We don’t have to educate their kids or pave their street and we still reap the benefits of their spending.
Tourism spending wasn’t broken down by county in the report I saw. I was told a county-by-county tourism analysis would be coming in a month or so.
Paving the way
Billy Foutch, the owner of Billy’s Restaurant, must be growing tired of my calls. Any time he does something to his property in Newtown, he can expect me to call and ask questions about it.
The latest call came after Billy resurfaced the parking lot and added bright, new parking lines.
This was noticed by me, and several other people, who immediately jumped to conclusions and figured the parking lot work meant the restaurant had been sold. Not so, says Billy.
The restaurant remains for sale. He’s just making it look better.
Billy told me there’s been some interest and he’s not really concerned about finding a buyer because he believes the right person will come along.
That’s all folks
Provided new taxes don’t bring local business activity to a screeching halt, I’ll return next week with more business news. Let me know about your business happenings at 473-2191.