Update 4:50 pm
The City of Knoxville now says the demolition of the McClung Warehouses won't begin until Sunday. Crews began prep work on Friday, and will continue on Saturday, but the actual work to bring down the building won't start until Sunday morning.
Update 1:00 p.m.
Crews will begin tearing down what's left of the abandoned McClung warehouses Saturday afternoon, following a second massive fire that tore through the property this past weekend.
Officials originally planned to demolish the only building left standing Friday afternoon, but crews are still assembly the equipment.
Local leaders announced at a press conference Thursday night that they've contracted JW Demolition to tear down what remained of the devastated property, which city officials said was beyond repair.
The demolition is expected to cost $127,000, plus an additional $15,000 to monitor the environmental impact. All the costs will be covered by insurance.
Flames shooting from the McClung warehouses were déjà vu for many Knoxville firefighters last weekend. Friday marks exactly seven years since crews battled another massive fire on the property.
What's left of the McClung warehouses are at risk of a "cascading structural failure." That information is what prompted Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to make the decision to tear down the buildings.
The Knoxville Community Development Corp. has hired JW Demolition to take down what's left of the McClung Warehouses.
City leaders said it should take two to four days to demolish the building and four to five weeks to clear the debris. JW Demolition crews have already brought some of their equipment to the site.
KCDC said the price tag for the demolition is $127,000, plus an additional $15,000 to monitor the environmental impact. All of the costs will be covered by insurance.
"We've got all the necessary info that we need at this particular point," said KCDC President Alvin Nance.
Before any demolitions can take place, all environmental and demolition permits need to be approved. However, the city said it believes that should be taken care of by Friday.
What's left of the McClung Warehouses are at risk of a "cascading structural failure," and that information is what led Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to make the decision to demolish the buildings.
A written structural engineering report released Thursday by National Resource Management (NRM), confirmed the facts that Mayor Rogero presented to City Council Tuesday night when she told them that the buildings could not be saved for redevelopment.
"We purchased the McClung Warehouses last November with the intention of redeveloping the site, which is prime real estate, highly visible from Interstate 40," Mayor Rogero said. "It is heartbreaking to have to proceed with redevelopment without these historic structures, but public safety concerns are forcing the city to go that route. We will be bringing these properties back onto the tax rolls with a high-quality redevelopment project."
The city purchased the buildings in November 2013 after a long legal battle with the building's owner. Three of the buildings were destroyed in a 2007 fire, and another was lost in a blaze this weekend. Leaders had hoped to use the remaining structures as a centerpiece for redevelopment.
The report stated the roof beams appeared close to collapse, and if they fell, it could trigger a chain reaction that could take the entire building down. Because of that danger, Jackson Avenue and nearby businesses have remained closed since Saturday's fire, and won't be reopened until the buildings are demolished.
The report also said the building is unsafe for anyone to enter, even fire inspectors or insurance adjusters. The engineers used the bucket truck of the Knoxville Fire Department to make their survey, and Thursday morning, insurance adjusters used a drone to get a bird's eye view of the inside of the buildings.
Mayor Rogers said the city is still committed to redevelop all of the city-owned properties on Jackson Avenue. Officials hope to find a developer or developers to take ownership of the properties by the end of the year.
Both Betty Davis and Christina Childress worked for C.M. McClung & Company back in the 1960s. Childress said she enjoyed her work in the building. She even said it helped shape her personality.
"I mean we had nails and we had everything you could think of," she said. "And, until this very day, I would just much rather go into a Lowes or a hardware store than to go shopping for dresses or anything like that."
But, Davis said it's been bittersweet to hear that both McClung Warehouses will soon be torn down.
"That's sad, but it's gone," she said.