Preservationists fight to save historic Printers Alley building - WSMV News 4

Preservationists fight to save historic Printers Alley building

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Printers Alley is in a revival phase. (WSMV) Printers Alley is in a revival phase. (WSMV)

Preservationists are worried about a 130-year-old building in Printers Alley.

The Embers Building was supposed to be renovated to create a boutique hotel, but the developers said it was too badly damaged to save the interior.

“Once this building is gone, it’s gone,” said Grant Mullins with Historic Nashville. “Nashville has destroyed a lot of its saloons from the late 19th century. This is one of the very last.”

Historic Nashville is passionate about saving the Embers Building. Once a brothel, it fronts 4th Avenue. The back of the building sits in Printers Alley.

Printers Alley is in a revival phase. Skull’s Rainbow Room reopened seven months ago. Its owner, Phil Martin, wants the Embers Building preserved.

“I think the main thing is the history and the nostalgia of Printers Alley and of Nashville,” Martin said. “Nashville doesn’t want to lose its future.”

The Embers Building was supposed to be renovated inside and out. The developers planned to incorporate the building into the Utopia Building to create a boutique hotel.

Developer Alex Marks told the city there was too much water damage to save the Embers’ interior. He was seeking a demolition permit.

“We were very taken aback at that,” Martin said. “We’ve had no communication from the developers. Nobody has.”

Marks’ company was to receive more than $7 million in city tax breaks to finance the project. Mayor Megan Barry’s office said Friday that money is in jeopardy if the building is demolished.

“Do Davidson County taxpayers want to spend $6.5 million to destroy this building when they’ve been told publicly that’s not going to happen?” Mullins said.

The mayor’s office has also asked Metro Codes not to issue any demolition permits.

The Metro Development and Housing Agency issued a statement, saying they were not aware of the new demolition plans.

MDHA officials said demolition would be grounds for terminating the public financing.

Marks sent the following statement to Channel 4:

As developers who have renovation backgrounds, we share and respect everyone’s concerns. We plan to meet and discuss our plans with the various stakeholders, as there are facts that should be understood before jumping to conclusions. We do not plan to pull a demolition permit until such meetings have been held. 

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