Cordell Hull Building Could Face Demolition - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Cordell Hull Building Could Face Demolition

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by Adam Ghassemi

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  State officials said The Cordell Hull building on 5thAvenue North downtown is in complete disrepair and could face demolition.

Crews finished the building in 1954. Today it is home to original artwork, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Governor Bill Haslam announced in January its historical significance will give way to the state budget.

"You have to balance that against what's the cost," Haslam said speaking to reporters Tuesday.

He said it makes more sense to spend millions of dollars demolishing the building versus millions more renovating it.

"Our General Services folks have come back with a pretty strong recommendation that to make this building usable and to renovate it in a cost effective way, to utilize it in an effective way, is going to cost more than to tear it down and build a new building. We have to be very cautious with tax payers' monies as well," said Governor Haslam.

However, those fighting for historical preservation said something invaluable would be lost.

"Great body and energy went into building that building and its very substantial. So it would be a real loss to have it demolished there. Especially if we're just going to put green space or it's even been suggested surface parking in its place," said Tim Walker Executive Director of Metro's Historical Commission.

Walker said a group is trying to meet with lawmakers to show them the importance of Cordell Hull and other state buildings.

"We're hopeful we can change some minds," Walker said. "A lot of that relates to lack of maintenance over the years and you certainly, even a new building requires maintenance, so you can't fault the building that the needed repairs weren't made through the decades."

The building was not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it was eligible according to a spokeswoman with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Calls and emails to the Tennessee Historical Commission were not returned Tuesday.

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