KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In September 2021, the City of Knoxville determined the Pryor Brown Parking Garage was structurally unsafe due to expanded wall cracking and shifting from a roof collapse.
"The structure at 322 W. Church Avenue has been determined to be one that poses an imminent danger to the lives of others," the city wrote in a notice to owners. "Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Sections of Church Avenue and Market Street were closed for nine days as the owners made the required repairs to the Northwest side.
A spokesperson for the city said nothing has changed in the year since.
"I checked with Plans Review and Inspections — there's nothing new," they said on August 22. "There's not been any notice issued to the owner or anything like that in the past year."
A new video from 10News shows the roof is also caving in on the other side.
A Google Earth image from November 2021 — about a month after the existing structural concerns were addressed — doesn't show any problems with the eastern side of the roof.
A WBIR picture from September 2022 shows a drastic difference.
"Knox Heritage has strongly encouraged the reuse and preservation of Pryor Brown Garage since this unique historic structure first appeared on our Fragile & Fading list of endangered historic places in 2014," said Christine Cloninger, executive director of the Knox Heritage group. "Our advocacy efforts include engaging the community and working with local government as well as property owners and developers to save the spaces and places that make up Knoxville’s unique sense of place."
She said they're willing to work with the owners of Pryor Brown Garage to come to a desirable outcome for the community.
Historian Jack Neely of the Knoxville History Project said Pryor Brown helped modernize downtown Knoxville in the 1920s.
"Pryor Brown built the first part of that in 1925 and finished it in 1929. This may be, as far as I know, the oldest or one of the oldest parking garages in America," Neely said. "Architects used pictures of it to show how parking garages should work."
He hopes the historic structure will be preserved for generations to come.
"I would like to think a creative developer could do something with that building," Neely said. "It was such a fantastic building in 1929 that Pryor Brown had open houses and people went there until 10 p.m. just to behold this wonderful garage. It's quite a special thing."
10News reached out to Regal Corp, which currently manages the Pryor Brown Garage property. We asked whether there are plans to demolish, redevelop or sell the property in the future, as well as whether they feel there's any danger in terms of the building's condition.
A representative acknowledged our request from Friday but had not yet addressed our questions.