Vacant parking garage owned by government raising concerns - WSMV Channel 4

Vacant parking garage owned by federal government raising concerns

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The owner of a vacant, dilapidated parking garage downtown is in trouble with the Metro Codes Department, and that owner happens to be the federal government.

Christine Washington avoids walking along the stretch of sidewalk near the building because she's afraid of what might fall on her head.

"It's a hazard," she said.

The government bought the huge block on Church Street between 7th and 8th streets 10 years ago. They were supposed to build a new federal courthouse there, but it's never materialized.

So, the buildings on the site that were scheduled to be demolished are still here. One building is cracked, leaning and crumbling.

Channel 4 asked the Metro Codes Department about it, and they sent an inspector out.

"We don't feel that it's in danger of imminent collapse, but we've made the federal government aware that we have some concerns and we recommend they have a structural engineer look at it," said Bill Penn with the Metro Codes Department.

The Codes Department says the federal government's General Services Administration wasn't aware of the problem.

The old parking garage is supposedly off limits, but Channel 4 found people parking inside. Through the windows, you can see that cars are parked on the upper levels.

Penn says that's dangerous. The owners could come back to find their cars pancaked, or at the very least, a chunk of concrete could come loose.

"Just stay away from it. We can't say what's going to happen, and because we can't say what's going to happen, it would be foolhardy to take a chance," Penn said.

It's still not clear how the cars are getting inside to park. The gate is closed with a chain and padlock.

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