|January 8, 2014 - Demolition of the Liberty Building in downtown Knoxville is underway, a step toward creating more than 1,000 free night and weekend parking spaces when a privately-owned garage is built later this year.
City Council last fall approved a contract with Walnut Street Garage LLC to build a 1,060-space parking garage at the corner of Summer Place and Locust Street.
Daytime parking will serve tenants of the Langley Building and TVA Towers, among others. At night, on weekends and on holidays, the new garage - which could open in early 2015 - will offer free public parking.
Demolition of the Liberty Building is to be completed by the end of January. The City is expected to convey ownership of the site to Walnut Street Garage LLC by this summer.
For now, anticipate lanes being closed on Summer Place during the demolition.
The demolition promises to be visually interesting. The demolition company, E. Luke Greene Co., which has an office in Knoxville, will be using a piece of machinery called a high reach excavator. The equipment, which is typically used in demolition in tight spaces, will take bites out of the building, basically demolishing it from the top down.
The City spent a total of about $3.5 million to purchase, prepare and clear the garage site with the aim of partnering with a developer to create new free night and weekend parking spaces as well as to meet daytime business parking needs. The new garage will be across the street from the 700-space Market Square Garage.
The City's $6.1 million expansion of the State Street Garage last year added 240 spaces. Combined, three city-owned garages - the State Street, Market Square and Locust Street garages - and the new private garage will provide about 3,500 parking spaces in the core of downtown.