Dodson, Wilson, others to be honored by Oak Ridge Chamber

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will honor area business leaders and businesses during an awards dinner in January.

It’s the second annual An ExtraORdinary Evening Installation and Awards Dinner. It’s scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Friday, January 7, at the Oak Ridge Children’s Museum. The cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m.

Jim Dodson and David Wilson will be presented with the Chamber’s most prestigious awards at the event, a press release said.

Dodson will be the recipient of the Eugene L. Joyce Lifetime Achievement Award, the press release said. [Read more…]

Council interested in proposed test, motorsports track

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Part of the site where a test track and research facility or motorsports park could be built on the back side of Horizon Center in west Oak Ridge is pictured above on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

The Oak Ridge City Council is interested in a proposed test track and research facility or motorsports park at Horizon Center.

The seven City Council members unanimously expressed interest in the proposed project, which could cost more than $50 million and cover more than 300 acres, during a Monday night meeting. The proposal is still in the early conceptual stage, and Council doesn’t have a specific plan to consider or endorse yet.

There are significant questions about the unusual project, which would be in west Oak Ridge, a few miles northeast of the former K-25 site. They include the questions of whether some potential uses such as a hotel would be allowed by the deed restrictions at the site, whether motorsports would be allowed under the industrial zoning, and whether a recreational vehicle park and outdoor music would be appropriate there.

Oak Ridge City Council member Ellen Smith said there are legal constraints on the property. Certain kinds of uses are allowed, and some, such as homes and hotels, are not, Smith said. She said the U.S. Department of Energy was hoping to foster industrial development on the former federal property.

It’s not clear what position DOE might take on the proposed use, and it’s not clear whether the site would be a test track and research facility for non-spectators, a motorsports park for spectators, or a combination of the two.

[Read more…]

Frank Callaghan Towers to be renovated, renamed

LHP Capital Closing Fairbanks Tower Sept 3 2019
Officials from LHP Capital and the City of Oak Ridge celebrate the closing of a transaction that will enable LHP to acquire and renovate Frank Callaghan Tower, an affordable housing community for seniors on fixed incomes. Pictured above from left to right on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, are Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board Chair David Wilson, LHP Development President Carr Hagan, and LHP Development CEO Alvin Nance. (Submitted photo)

The Frank Callaghan Towers on Fairbanks Road in Oak Ridge will be renovated and renamed, a housing developer and manager said this week.

Officials with LHP Capital LLC announced Tuesday that they have signed the last document necessary to close on the acquisition and renovation of Oak Ridge’s Frank Callaghan Towers. That’s a 110-unit affordable rental housing community for seniors 62 and older and adults with disabilities, and it is located at 115 Fairbanks Road in east Oak Ridge.

LHP will oversee more than $5.8 million in renovations to the property, which was originally constructed in the late 1970s, a press release said. The sale to LHP will assure preservation of the property’s affordability status under federal guidelines, the press release said. LHP will also manage the apartments.

The renovations to the property will begin immediately and will start with a new name, according to Carr Hagan, president, LHP Development, a division of Knoxville-based LHP Capital, a real estate development firm specializing in affordable housing.

[Read more…]

IDB approves tax abatement as MCLinc plans to build at Horizon Center

Barry Stephenson, president and chief executive officer of MCLinc, discusses the analytical testing laboratory's plan to build a 29,000-square-foot building at Horizon Center during an Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board meeting on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

Barry Stephenson, president and chief executive officer of MCLinc, discusses the analytical testing laboratory’s plan to build a 29,000-square-foot building at Horizon Center during an Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board meeting on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

A city board on Monday approved a six-year, 50 percent property tax abatement for a company that plans to move from Heritage Center, the former K-25 site, to Horizon Center, a few miles northeast.

MCLinc is now in Building K-1006 at Heritage Center, which is also known as East Tennessee Technology Park. A conference center at ETTP’s main entrance is leased for special events, and MCLinc has the next building on the right. It’s been home to a laboratory since 1965. MCLinc (Materials and Chemistry Laboratory) has been there since 1998, when the company started.

But the building is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, and it is slated for demolition, said Barry Stephenson, MCLinc president and chief executive officer. Attempts to acquire the building have not panned out, Stephenson told the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board on Monday.

Three years ago, the company, an analytical testing laboratory, received notice that they have to move, Stephenson said. He told the IDB that MCLinc has to be out of the building by September 2018. [Read more…]

Officials celebrate sale of DOE land to IDB, which sold to Protomet, for economic development

protomet-nov-22-2016-web

Protomet Corporation is pictured above in the Bethel Valley Industrial Park in south Oak Ridge on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Officials are celebrating the sale of federal land east of Oak Ridge National Laboratory that could be used to help an industrial company expand.

The 20-acre parcel had been owned by the U.S. Department of Energy in Oak Ridge. The property is adjacent to the Bethel Valley Industrial Park in south Oak Ridge and west of Protomet. The company had sought the property for a planned expansion.

The parcel was sold to the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, or IDB, on October 20.

The IDB, which served as a conduit, then sold the land to Protomet. The company is evaluating the site as one option as it plans for a $30 million expansion that could add 200 jobs over a five-year period. [Read more…]

After acquiring more land, Protomet evaluating Oak Ridge for $30 million expansion

protomet-nov-22-2016-web

Protomet Corporation is pictured above in the Bethel Valley Industrial Park in south Oak Ridge on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Jeff-Bohanan-Feb-2-2016

Jeff Bohanan

Protomet Corporation has purchased about 20 acres of former federal land on Bethel Valley Road in south Oak Ridge, and the company is evaluating that property as one option as it plans for a $30 million expansion that could add 200 jobs over a five-year period.

On Tuesday, Protomet founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bohanan said the company prefers to stay in Oak Ridge, but there is no guarantee. The 19.47-acre parcel on Bethel Valley Road will have to be cut and filled, and drainage will have to be redirected, Bohanan said. It’s not clear yet how much that work might cost.

Protomet needs about 100,000 square feet for its expansion, which was announced in February. Protomet now has 70 workers in a 40,000-square-foot building on eight acres, so the company could more than triple in size.

“The new facility will dramatically increase Protomet’s capacity and capabilities for the customers it serves,” Bohanan said. “We have already started purchasing equipment for the new facility, and some of it is already in use at our current facility.”

Protomet bought the Bethel Valley Road land from the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board for $103,000 on October 20. The property, which was previously owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, is west of Protomet and east of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“This is a big step in our ability to evaluate this site as an option,” Bohanan said. [Read more…]

Mall demolition begins with ceremonial groundbreaking, knocking down of wall

Main Street Oak Ridge Groundbreaking July 20 2016

Demolition of the former Oak Ridge Mall began Wednesday, July 20, 2016, with a ceremonial groundbreaking and the knocking down of a wall near the former Goody’s store, starting construction on a 58-acre mixed-use retail development known as Main Street Oak Ridge. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 7 p.m.

Demolition of the former Oak Ridge Mall began Wednesday with a ceremonial groundbreaking and the knocking down of a wall near the former Goody’s store, starting construction on a 58-acre mixed-use retail development known as Main Street Oak Ridge.

Demolition could last three months, and the construction of two new stores, T.J. Maxx and Dick’s Sporting Goods, could start where the former Sears building is in October. New stores could open in the spring of 2017.

Officials, business representatives, and the community celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday. About 300 or more people attended. After the groundbreaking on a hot, sunny summer afternoon, those celebrating, including children and adults, had a chance to spray graffiti on part of the old mall as a fundraiser for the renovation of Blankenship Field.

Main Street Oak Ridge is now the largest multi-tenant commercial retail project in the city, said Parker Hardy, president of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. [Read more…]

Mall project clears critical hurdle Monday

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

 

Tim Sittema

Tim Sittema

Council, IDB approve TIF extension, grant, roadway work

The proposed redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall cleared a critical hurdle on Monday when city officials agreed to extend a property tax agreement for the 59-acre project, authorize $2 million in roadway and other infrastructure work, and offer a $500,000 grant if some federal funding is not approved.

Officials described the proposed redevelopment, named Main Street Oak Ridge, as an $80 million project that could fill a “hole in the heart” of Oak Ridge, bring new retail life to the city’s downtown, and build a lasting legacy.

Monday’s moves were meant to reduce the risk for four local lenders that could combine to offer $13 million in loans to part of the redevelopment under a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement. That incentive would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site and 120 surrounding acres included in the TIF area to repay those loans. Officials said the loans could be repaid in 18 years, according to financial models.

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

But in two separate special meetings on Monday, the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and Oak Ridge City Council agreed to extend the TIF term from 20 years to 30. That extra 10 years is meant to act as a “shock absorber” and help make sure that the banks are repaid if there is a “glitch” in the project that would push the repayment past the previously approved 20-year term, officials said.

“This is not a ‘home run’ project for us as financial institutions,” said David R. Bradshaw, Oak Ridge president of CapitalMark Bank and Trust, one of the financial institutions that could participate. But, he added, “It is the right thing to do for the community.” [Read more…]

United Way Golf Tournament raises close to $19,000

United Way Golf Tournament First Place 2013

The first place team in this year’s United Way Golf Tournament included Shane Peters, Rick Cornell, Jason Hembree, and Alan Grigsby. (Submitted photos)

An annual golf tournament for the United Way of Anderson County raised close to $19,000 this month, officials said Monday.

The tournament was Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Oak Ridge Country Club.

“We are so pleased to have raised nearly $19,000 through this year’s tournament,” said David Wilson, tournament chairman. “We had 16 teams come out and enjoy great weather and great golf!” [Read more…]

United Way Golf Tournament needs your support

United Way Golf Tournament Winners

Winners of the 2012 United Way Golf Tournament pictured above are Doug Guinn, Keith Newport, Tom White, and Jody Waddell. (Submitted photo)

The United Way of Anderson County will host its annual golf tournament on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Oak Ridge Country Club.

“Proceeds from this tournament directly support UWAC’s 34 partner agencies,” said David Wilson, tournament chairman. “Every sponsorship and every team registration is so important and so appreciated.”

This year, the tournament will feature two divisions. The Pro Division will offer platinum, gold, and silver sponsors a local club pro to play as their fourth in a modified scramble. The Champions Division will have four players with a team handicap. Prizes will be awarded to the top two teams in each division. [Read more…]

IDB endorses professional services contract with Chamber

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce could provide an office for the Industrial Development Board, store its files, prepare its meeting minutes and agendas, and take care of its accounting under a proposal endorsed Monday.

The Chamber would do the work for $25,000 per year, IDB Chair David Wilson told board members. [Read more…]