(WBIR - KNOXVILLE) An online petition drive has been launched to save a stately, 100-year-old home on Broadway that could be torn down for commercial development.
The Paul Howard home has been recognized by Knox Heritage for its value and upkeep. The home sits on about 2.4 acres at 2921 Broadway, a heavily traveled area dominated by fastfood restaurants, stores and small businesses.
More than 3,600 people have signed the change.org petition that you can see here. There's reportedly interest for a Walmart store on the property.
"We call upon the decision makers at Walmart to reject a developer's proposal to them that will destroy this important part of Knoxville's history and future when other development sites are available that do not destroy historic buildings," the petition states.
Howard, a former Knoxville city councilman who operated a heating and plumbing business for years, lived in the home for decades. Shortly before he died in March 2014, Knox Heritage recognized him for his longtime care of the Craftsman house.
It was built around 1910. Family members said they can't imagine their father ever believed it would be torn down.
According to son Tim Howard, the family has been offered $1.269 million for the property.
But before the Howards sign the dotted line, Knox Heritage and members of the community have started a social media blitz to find what they say is a best-case scenario.
"The developers have to acquire the land before they can put a deal together for what they want to build in its place, so there is no way to say with 100 percent certainty what would go here. But they would tear down the house and they are interested in building an outlet for retail food chain. My best guess is either a Wal-Mart neighborhood market or Dollar General supermarket, something of that type," Howard told 10News.
The house has five fireplaces, two kitchens, several bedrooms, and a large wrap-around porch. Outside, there's a gazebo, tennis courts and a water fountain.
The developer who made the offer to the Howard estate also wants to buy the large church lot next door. Centerpointe Church has already agreed to sell for $2.3 million, but the deal is contingent on the Howards also agreeing to sell.