Vacant Phipps Bend property now available 18 years after arson

Jeff Bobo • Jan 30, 2020 at 12:15 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A 7.5-acre lot at the Phipps Bend Industrial Park is back on the market for the first time in more than 18 years after it burned down and became the subject of an arson investigation and a federal lawsuit.

Hawkins County Industrial Board Chairman Larry Elkins said last week that the old Kingsport Packaging property at 984 Phipps Bend Road is now available for sale and already has a hot prospect.

Following an investigation which determined the cause of the Dec. 7, 2001 fire was arson, the property was tied up in litigation for years as the owners and the insurance company settled a federal lawsuit.

After the property was cleared and returned to the Phipps Bend Joint Venture, it had to be cleaned up.

Elkins told the IDB last week that the final task required to return the property to the market, a core drilling, had been completed and had come back clean.

“We had removed some barrels and cleaned the site up, but before we could approach selling that to a prospective business, they wanted us to have, and we needed to have a clear understanding that there was nothing (hazardous) there. We went back and hired Foundation Systems to do some core drilling and to get us a clean bill of health, and we have got that.”

Elkins told the Times News after last Thursday’s IDB meeting that a prospect is interested in the property and would be creating jobs. An announcement will be made if and when the sale is finalized.

The property is located at the end of Phipps Bend Road across from the new Miyake plant.

All that remains of the Kingsport Packaging facility are the concrete pad and loading dock.

Although no criminal charges were filed as a result of the fire, the state’s Special Operations and Response Team (SORT) ruled it an arson based on the discovery of accelerant among the debris.

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