Movement underway to save Pryor Brown Garage in downtown Knoxvil

Movement underway to save Pryor Brown Garage in downtown Knoxville

Posted:
The Pryor Brown Garage is on the corner of Church and Market Streets and according to the city, with the permit approved and no legal reason to deny it, the garage could come down at any time. The Pryor Brown Garage is on the corner of Church and Market Streets and according to the city, with the permit approved and no legal reason to deny it, the garage could come down at any time.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A movement to save a nearly 100 year old parking garage in downtown Knoxville is underway after a demolition permit was okayed by the city.

The Pryor Brown Garage is on the corner of Church and Market Streets and according to the city, with the permit approved and no legal reason to deny it, the garage could come down at any time.

In order to save the Pryor Brown Garage, an online petition is now circulating hoping it can be granted Historic Overlay Zoning. So far, the petition has nearly 400 signatures.

Parked on the corner, the Pryor Brown Garage is so much more than a place you can park downtown.

"Before it was a garage it was a livery stable and Pryor Brown ran the business. It was built, the first phase in 1925 with the second phase in 1929. Some people may say 'Well it's a parking garage.' But actually it's one of the oldest ones still surviving in the United States," said Kim Trent with Knox Heritage.

Besides parking, the building has space for shops, restaurants, and other businesses. But all that may be a thing of the past since a demolition permit was recently issued and approved.

Royal Properties Inc. owns the garage and say it's in poor condition and unsalvageable.

On Monday, Knox Heritage met with city leaders to come up with solutions.

"Well we talked about what might be available for incentives or things that could really meet the challenges and needs of the owner and how could that work and be done in a really positive way," added Trent.

It's a building Andrew Beamer passes by on his way to work every day. "It's one of the few buildings around here that still has a lot of character," he said.

That's why Beamer says he wants to see it saved, "I think that it needs to be renovated instead of demolished."

Though others say while the building is beautiful, the decision to take it down with a wrecking ball is a complicated one.

"But the fact is we can't always have what we want. Sometimes the financial realities are what they are and that's a substantial commitment," said Keith Stewart.

According to the city at this point a Historic Overlay Zone wouldn't prevent the building from being demolished. Though, the city is hopeful that other options can be explored with the property owner so it can be saved.

We're told property owners would turn the site into a surface level parking lot.

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