‘Blue Lizard’ maker Crown planning Johnson City expansion Company plans to add manufacturing, backfill former NN Inc. headquarters Reviewed by Assistant on . Crown has invested in some upgraded product lines over the past year, including this one. Photo courtesy Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership The f Crown has invested in some upgraded product lines over the past year, including this one. Photo courtesy Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership The f Rating: 0
You Are Here: Home » News » ‘Blue Lizard’ maker Crown planning Johnson City expansion Company plans to add manufacturing, backfill former NN Inc. headquarters

‘Blue Lizard’ maker Crown planning Johnson City expansion Company plans to add manufacturing, backfill former NN Inc. headquarters

‘Blue Lizard’ maker Crown planning Johnson City expansion Company plans to add manufacturing, backfill former NN Inc. headquarters

Crown has invested in some upgraded product lines over the past year, including this one. Photo courtesy Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership

The fast-growing company – which partnered with private equity firm Hildred Capital Partners in late 2017 – last year became one of just 6 percent of companies to spend six consecutive years on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

“Bringing new jobs to the region by adding profitable revenue aligns with our long-standing commitment to our employees, the community and Northeast Tennessee,” Crown CEO Jeff Bedard said.

Crown plans to move its corporate headquarters to 207 Mockingbird Lane, a building NN Inc. recently vacated. City commissioners approved a $450,000 contribution to the Johnson City Industrial Development Board (IDB) Tuesday morning. Those funds, and a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreement the IDB will consider at its August 27 meeting, represent the local commitment to Crown’s investment. Both investments include job creation and wage performance requirements.

Crown expects nearly half its anticipated employment growth to be corporate jobs, with a resulting local payroll addition of more than $15 million.

“We are very pleased Crown will stay local as it continues its tremendous growth trajectory,” said Will Barrett, chairman of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership (NeTREP). “CEO Jeff Bedard and his team have deep roots in the Johnson City area and have been a great homegrown success story.”

Crown, well known for its Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen line, has acquired several companies and product lines since late 2017 and grown organically, as well as picking up two additional equity partners. From late 2018 through May, it acquired six products from GlaxoSmithKline, including legacy brand Keri.

“Crown is a valued member of our business community,” Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock said. “Their growth the past two decades has impacted our city very positively and we consider this support for their growth to be a sound investment for our community.”

Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy concurred: “Jeff has been a friend to the community and has grown Crown’s business for nearly two decades,” Grandy said. “We look forward to their continued growth as the company continues to make acquisitions and bring talent to our area.”

The availability of NN’s 68,000-square-foot headquarters was a key advantage for Johnson City as Crown sought the best possible solution for its growth plans, Bedard said. He said having corporate and manufacturing employment in the same community is ideal, but that co-locating both at Crown’s existing Lafe Cox Drive location presented some challenges. Other communities where Crown now has a presence due to its acquisitions were courting the company as well.

“The Mockingbird Lane building became the final piece of the puzzle that made staying and growing in Johnson City the ideal choice for us,” Bedard said. “Knowing that we’re backfilling a vacated space and helping create a win-win for the community we’ve called home for 19 years is really gratifying.

“We appreciate the city’s investment and confidence in Crown, and we’re thankful for the help NeTREP has provided during this long process. We intend to honor those investments by continuing to be a vital part of this great community.”

To qualify for the PILOT, Crown will lease the headquarters building from the IDB for $1 a year after paying NN to acquire the property. The PILOT incentive, currently worth about $113,000 annually, lasts through 2029, after which Crown will assume ownership and standard property tax liability. Job creation and wage requirements take effect beginning with the 2025 tax year (see fact sheet).

“The investment in Crown protects taxpayers and provides a path forward for Crown’s continued growth here,” NeTREP’s Barrett said. “With the potential alternative of an empty corporate building sitting for an extended period, we believe the addition of dozens of good-paying corporate jobs there, plus an additional 100-plus production and distribution jobs and a $20 million investment at Crown’s current site, will produce tremendous long-term economic dividends for our region.”

Crown expects to close the Mockingbird Lane deal near the end of August and hopes to move into the facility in September and begin renovations immediately. Crown plans to complete a “build to suit” renovation for an additional tenant on the fourth floor. Manufacturing and distribution upgrades and expansion that will bring about 100,000 square feet of additional space at Lafe Cox Drive will also begin immediately as corporate employees are moved to the Mockingbird Lane location and will be phased in over five years.

Johnson City-based skin care company Crown Laboratories’ plans to move its corporate headquarters to north Johnson City took a major step forward Tuesday morning when the Johnson City Commission approved one portion of a local incentive package. Crown also intends to expand manufacturing capacity at its current south Johnson City location as part of a $27 million local investment that is expected to add more than 200 jobs by 2024.

The fast-growing company – which partnered with private equity firm Hildred Capital Partners in late 2017 – last year became one of just 6 percent of companies to spend six consecutive years on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

“Bringing new jobs to the region by adding profitable revenue aligns with our long-standing commitment to our employees, the community and Northeast Tennessee,” Crown CEO Jeff Bedard said.

Crown plans to move its corporate headquarters to 207 Mockingbird Lane, a building NN Inc. recently vacated. City commissioners approved a $450,000 contribution to the Johnson City Industrial Development Board (IDB) Tuesday morning. Those funds, and a payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreement the IDB will consider at its August 27 meeting, represent the local commitment to Crown’s investment. Both investments include job creation and wage performance requirements.

Crown expects nearly half its anticipated employment growth to be corporate jobs, with a resulting local payroll addition of more than $15 million.

“We are very pleased Crown will stay local as it continues its tremendous growth trajectory,” said Will Barrett, chairman of the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership (NeTREP). “CEO Jeff Bedard and his team have deep roots in the Johnson City area and have been a great homegrown success story.”

Crown, well known for its Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen line, has acquired several companies and product lines since late 2017 and grown organically, as well as picking up two additional equity partners. From late 2018 through May, it acquired six products from GlaxoSmithKline, including legacy brand Keri.

“Crown is a valued member of our business community,” Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock said. “Their growth the past two decades has impacted our city very positively and we consider this support for their growth to be a sound investment for our community.”

Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy concurred: “Jeff has been a friend to the community and has grown Crown’s business for nearly two decades,” Grandy said. “We look forward to their continued growth as the company continues to make acquisitions and bring talent to our area.”

The availability of NN’s 68,000-square-foot headquarters was a key advantage for Johnson City as Crown sought the best possible solution for its growth plans, Bedard said. He said having corporate and manufacturing employment in the same community is ideal, but that co-locating both at Crown’s existing Lafe Cox Drive location presented some challenges. Other communities where Crown now has a presence due to its acquisitions were courting the company as well.

“The Mockingbird Lane building became the final piece of the puzzle that made staying and growing in Johnson City the ideal choice for us,” Bedard said. “Knowing that we’re backfilling a vacated space and helping create a win-win for the community we’ve called home for 19 years is really gratifying.

“We appreciate the city’s investment and confidence in Crown, and we’re thankful for the help NeTREP has provided during this long process. We intend to honor those investments by continuing to be a vital part of this great community.”

To qualify for the PILOT, Crown will lease the headquarters building from the IDB for $1 a year after paying NN to acquire the property. The PILOT incentive, currently worth about $113,000 annually, lasts through 2029, after which Crown will assume ownership and standard property tax liability. Job creation and wage requirements take effect beginning with the 2025 tax year (see fact sheet).

“The investment in Crown protects taxpayers and provides a path forward for Crown’s continued growth here,” NeTREP’s Barrett said. “With the potential alternative of an empty corporate building sitting for an extended period, we believe the addition of dozens of good-paying corporate jobs there, plus an additional 100-plus production and distribution jobs and a $20 million investment at Crown’s current site, will produce tremendous long-term economic dividends for our region.”

Crown expects to close the Mockingbird Lane deal near the end of August and hopes to move into the facility in September and begin renovations immediately. Crown plans to complete a “build to suit” renovation for an additional tenant on the fourth floor. Manufacturing and distribution upgrades and expansion that will bring about 100,000 square feet of additional space at Lafe Cox Drive will also begin immediately as corporate employees are moved to the Mockingbird Lane location and will be phased in over five years.

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