Deadline for Andrew Johnson Building proposals extended

Anyone interested in buying and developing the landmark Andrew Johnson Building in downtown Knoxville has an extra month to get their proposal together.

Knox County officials announced Friday they were extending the deadline for potential buyers a month, from June 13 to July 13. Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced last month the county was seeking development requests for the 18-story Gay Street building.

Michael Grider, spokesman for Burchett, said the extension comes at the recommendation of Knox County Procurement "and in response to feedback from potential proposers..."

Burchett is a guest this week on WBIR's "Inside Tennessee," which airs 9:30 a.m. Sunday. He declined during the taping to discuss interest expressed by developers in the old hotel.

The building dates from the late 1920s. After decades as one of the city's biggest hotels, its use evolved. It now serves as central administrative headquarters for Knox County Schools.

Burchett argues the building -- and taxpayers -- are better served if the AJ Building goes back on the tax roles. His announcement coincides with a recent surge in construction and interest in downtown Knoxville.

In July 2015, the county put out a Request for Information (RFI) to see what companies at the time might've been interested in buying the building. Seven groups expressed interest and proposed a variety of uses. 

Nothing substantive came of that, however.

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The county is now putting out a Request for Proposal (RFP) and formally taking the first steps to determine the future of the building. 

Burchett is calling on developers and investors to put in their best proposals, whether it's for residential condos or apartments, other business ventures, or redeveloping the property as a hotel. 

The county is working with KCS to identify potential options for relocating central offices. RFP respondents can include a recommendation for relocation in their RFP response. 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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