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Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board hears plan for Spark Plaza in city

Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board hears plan for Spark Plaza in city

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BRISTOL, Tenn. — Thanks to a $50,000 grant, Bristol Tennessee officials are looking to set up a co-working space downtown where professionals can gather and come up with the Twin City’s next big businesses ideas.

At the Bristol Tennessee Industrial Development Board meeting Monday afternoon, Shannon Castillo, one of the founders of the Spark Plaza co-working space in downtown Johnson City, pitched the idea of Bristol’s co-working space being a new Spark Plaza campus.

Castillo, who started the business with her husband, Jose, in 2009, said she envisioned the new campus would be 2,600 to 3,000 square feet with open working areas and office spaces that would provide an intimate space for professionals to socialize, work and collaborate. She added that she thinks an accessible space for professionals like Spark Plaza would help combat the trend of the region losing some of its brightest young professionals, based on experiences she’s had at the Johnson City location.

Tom Anderson, director of economic development for the city, said a Bristol Spark Plaza is not set in stone, but a downtown co-working space is definitely coming, it’s just a matter of nailing down who will operate the space and where it will be.

Believe in Bristol applied for and received a $50,000 Tennessee Creative Placemakers grant, which will help fund the co-working space. Maggie Bishop, director of Believe in Bristol, said surveys and focus groups showed there was a desire and need for this kind of space downtown.

In other business, the IDB approved a resolution that would add 3.16 acres to the existing Border Region Retail Development site for Centre Pointe 74, a planned commercial development just off Interstate 81 on U.S. Highway 11W. Ground will be broken for a new Friendship Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Dealership at the development Wednesday, and office, retail space and a hotel are also planned, though the dealership is the only committed tenant.

Bristol Tennessee City Council will consider the amendment at its next council meeting on Aug. 6.

Update: The name of the development is Centre Pointe 74.

lgreiss@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2512 | Twitter: @Leif_Greiss

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