Knoxville City Council approved a $16,300 increase of the redevelopment grant for the renovation of a former North Knoxville laundry site.
The city is giving an extra $16,300 to the site’s renovation project for structural engineering service and assessment, with the budget for the renovation standing at a total of $47,862.
The increase in the grant will help to fund both the resolution of the environmental issues left behind by the chemicals used at the laundry, and the roof that has not been well maintained and has deteriorated due to weathering over time.
After sitting vacant for about a decade, the building will require both structural and architectural updates.
The site of the former laundry also has environmental concerns that must be addressed before it is converted for further use. Deputy Director for the Office of Redevelopment Anne Wallace said, “We did receive $240,000 of grant money to be able to clean the property, it’s $200,000 from the EPA and $40,000 from local match.”
Wallace said, “At this location we are set up to expend about $800,000 dollars on the roof and we’ve leveraged the $200,000…it is at a critical location right at the intersection of Broadway and Central.”
Located at 625 N. Broadway, the site of the renovation is in the growing “Happy Holler” district of downtown Knoxville.
The vacant building was an operating laundry beginning in the early part of the 20th century, and it closed its doors sometime around 1990. Wallace said that, “Unfortunately it was left vacant..and of course that leaves the roof and other elements of the building in disrepair.”
The roof repair will cost around $800,000, while the environmental cleanup will cost around $240,000.
Once the building has been repaired, Wallace and the Office of Redevelopment plan to put the building on the market for request for proposals. This will allow new businesses to have a possible opportunity to move into the renovated space.
The building is projected to be around 30,000 square feet and it sits on a lot that is located between Downtown Knoxville and Downtown N. Knoxville.
Wallace said that she and the board are “looking to find the most beneficial both economically but also to the general community as a whole, use of that structure.”
The project could take up to three years to be completed.