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Phipps Bend spec building goes back on market

From staff reports • May 14, 2020 at 3:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Industrial Development Board and NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership say they have an existing building to market in Phipps Bend Industrial Park.

NETWORKS, the economic development organization that markets and recruits for the neighboring county’s primary industrial park, has spoken to executives at NanoXplore, who have advised them to market the former HCIDB Spec Building in the park.

The 70,000-square-foot building was purchased from HCIDB in May 2018 by RMC Advanced Technologies to house a manufacturing facility that would make doors and hoods for large vehicles as well as the Canadian company’s U.S. headquarters. However, Sigma Industries, RCM’s parent company, was purchased by NanoXplore, a Canadian Graphene Company, a few months later and the new owners shelved the project. After ongoing discussions with NanoXplore, NETWORKS was told last week that the company has entered into a contract with Newmark Knight Frank, a national real estate broker, and asked for the EDO’s assistance in marketing the facility.

“The good news is that the building was sold and that the public debt was cleared so it was no longer a burden on the taxpayers of Hawkins County,” IDB Chairman Larry Elkins said. “The bad news is that the jobs to be created by having this building have been put on hold, but this is a really good, marketable building and with the success of the past few years and our partnership with NETWORKS, I believe strongly that the building will not be on the market long.”

In its original announcement of its expansion to Tennessee, RMC planned to invest $7 million in the facility and equipment and hire up to 54 people in what would have been a highly automated plant.

“We’re certainly disappointed that the change of ownership put a halt on the project, but we’re confident that we can successfully market this building and, who knows, maybe bring in more jobs than RMC had forecast,” said Clay Walker, CEO of NETWORKS. “It’s a great building, just the right size for many projects. We had seen interest in the building in the earliest days of our partnership with Hawkins County and had it sold in less than two years; I’m anticipating a shorter time frame to have someone else in the building and employing people of our region.”

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