What is up with people wanting to tear down old downtown Knoxville buildings lately? It’s maddening!
First we have this St. John’s Cathedral nonsense that has been going on for a long time now. Apparently they were told they couldn’t tear them down, then they appealed that decision today and won. I started an online petition asking them to please not tear the buildings down. As of right now 104 people have signed and quite a few have left comments to the church. So if you feel like supporting this cause, please go sign the petition.
Then, we get the plan for the old Baptist Hospital, which involves tearing down the old buildings and putting in some really uninspiring architecture and more overpriced apartments (which the tax payers get to help fund).
And now there’s this ridiculousness. The owner’s of the Pryor Brown garage threatened to tear the building down if they didn’t get CBID funding and now they are trying to make good on their promise. They spent years and years neglecting the building and when the city wouldn’t bail them out, they want to bulldoze it to make way for another paved parking lot. I can’t wrap my head around why they would be so ridiculous. They could make so much more money if they managed to get financing from another source and fixed the garage and courted retail for the bottom floor. I don’t think they could possibly make as much with a surface parking lot. Why not sell it to a developer who’ll do something with the structure? It looks like spite to me. They’re trying to get around the Downtown Design Review board by saying they envision knocking down the garage and building a tower on the lot on down the road. “…when it’s economically feasible.” Which means never. There are so many surface lots already here, why not put this hypothetical tower on one of them and let another developer do something great with the garage?
With all the great progress downtown Knoxville has been making in recent years and the amazing amounts that real estate is going for in this area, I find it hard to believe that people could be so foolish or spiteful to want to tear down old buildings for such poor reasons. The Baptist Hospital project is a little more understandable, though I wish they would preserve the old buildings and put in some new, more interesting architecture. The other two situations seem like they are more spite than anything else. And that is just really sad. Especially considering that one is from a church.