Tennessee's highest court rejects Chattanooga Passage appeal

Tennessee's highest court rejects Chattanooga Passage appeal

October 23rd, 2012 by Ellis Smith in Business Around the Region

The Passage in Chattanooga

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

The Tennessee state Supreme Court last week declined to intervene in a case brought by Chattanooga against the group allegedly responsible for city's crumbling portion of the 21st Century Waterfront known as The Passage.

An appeals court had previously dismissed the city's lawsuit because Chattanooga officials waited too long to file it, having had knowledge that there were major problems with construction as far back as 2005.

Hargreaves Associates, the architects who designed The Passage, claimed that in 2005 they informed the city of irregular walls, cracks in construction, inadequate drainage and electrical problems.

The firm also said it warned the city that some walls were not properly constructed, and that as a result, the walls were shifting.

According to the appeals court case, former project manager Dan Kral sent out a "call for help" in July 2005 because the Passage Fountain was falling apart to the point of being inoperable.

But the city didn't file a lawsuit against Hargreaves, River City Co. and others involved in the project until 2009 - after the three-year statute of limitations had expired.

City attorneys argued unsuccessfully that the city was unaware of any defects until July 2007. In 2008, architectural firm TWH issued a city-sponsored report.

Much like Hargreaves had found in 2008, TWH confirmed that the project was rife with wall defects, defective installation of concrete pavers, electrical defects and defects in the design or construction of the amphitheater and sidewalks.

The firm recommended that workers demolish most of the project and start over.

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6315.