NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mayor Megan Barry is responding after reports surfaced a historic building will soon be demolished to make way for a hotel development project in Printers Alley.
The building, known as The Embers, was previously slated for preservation.
“I believe strongly in preserving the history of Nashville which has developed the wonderful character of our city,” Mayor Barry said.
She then explained the Metro Development and Housing Agency already agreed to partially fund the hotel project, and that agreement “was predicated on the preservation of two historic buildings.”
The mayor said any changes to that agreement would have to be approved by the agency if the project still expects to receive public funding.
Mayor Barry noted that her office has spoken with the Metro Codes Department and Metro Historical Commission and confirmed that no demolition permits have been approved.
“And I’ve asked them to delay any such approval until a full investigation and hearing of the facts can be made and all possible solutions that would result in the preservation of this building are exhausted,” she added.
Later Friday, the Metro Development and Housing Agency released a statement. It reads, in full:
On Feb. 2, MDHA approved a Redevelopment Agreement for property located in the 200 block of Fourth Avenue North that included preservation of the historic Utopia and Embers buildings.
Subsequently, we have become aware that the developers believe it may be infeasible to preserve the Embers Building. We have not had the opportunity to meet with the developer and hear what recent discovery has led to this proposed change of plans.
MDHA’s agreement to fund any portion of this project has been and continues to be predicated on the fact that both the Utopia and the Embers building will be preserved. The only plans we have reviewed show these building to be preserved. Demolition of the Embers building would be in violation of the development agreement and would terminate our commitment to assist in funding the project.
We hope that further exploration into physical condition of the Embers building will show a path towards its preservation.