Demolition deferred, Deck Delineated, Alleyway Acquired

710 and 712 Walnut Still Endangered

Lengthy caption, I realize, but several things are simmering in the downtown stew today and I wanted to include them all. Let’s take them one at a time.

Though several members were absent and the audience was virtually non-existent, the Downtown Design Review Board met yesterday and held a very brief meeting with a two item agenda. First up was the proposed demolition of 710 and 712 Walnut. Yes, it is still up for discussion and apparently will continue to be indefinitely. It still has the recommendation for approval, but it was once again deferred for one month at the request of the church as they are continuing discussions about the future of the buildings.

The Downtown Design Review Board, Knoxville, February 2012

Mostly empty seats in the small auditorium

Some questions were raised about whether the postponement can go on forever and it was agreed it could unless the board voted to not grant the postponement, which would, in effect, mean that the matter would have to be raised anew and at least a month would have to lapse after it was re-introduced before any action could be taken. No one moved to do that, so it will be on the agenda for the fifth month in a row, next month.

I thought voting down the request for postponement would have been a smart option. Otherwise, we could all get lulled to sleep by the continued delays until suddenly it was voted on one month and the buildings disappear overnight. Maybe they will think reconsider that next month.

116 S. Central, Knoxville, Old City Entertainment

The second item was a request for approval of the construction of a deck above the one-story portion of Old City Entertainment Venue at 116 S. Central Street. After assurances that nothing would be visible from the street, approval was given. Interestingly, one hurdle is that there must be an egress from the rooftop and it is proposed to be to the back into an alley.

Parking lot behind 100 block of S. Central

Alley behind Old City Entertainment Venue owned by Jeffrey Nash

That’s where matters may get complicated. The alley is not public property, but rather is owned by Jeffrey Nash who recently acquired it from his own company, if my memory serves correctly. It is a portion of the parcel which includes a gravel parking lot which he is set to improve using a combination of funds which includes a grant from CBID he was awarded last month. Got all that? The bottom line is that he has to agree to the staircase.

Rear of Building containing Aisle Nine
Wall to bear weight of deck – exposed crack

While in the alley, I couldn’t help but notice the condition of the adjacent building. This is germane to the story because the deck will actually be suspended from the two taller buildings and will not rest on the roof of the shorter building. Looking at the huge crack in the wall of the other building, I had to wonder how much weight it can support. I’m sure the engineers are confident, but it looks as if it barely stands upright. This is the building that currently houses Aisle Nine and its upper section isn’t used at this time.

So, stay tuned. The stories will continue to develop.