Parkway Towers building going up for auction in November

Parkway Towers building going up for auction in November

October 16th, 2014 by Alex Green in Business Around the Region

Parkway Towers is located across from Finley Stadium in downtown Chattanooga.

Parkway Towers is located across from Finley Stadium...

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

However you feel about the Parkway Towers building, here's your chance to do something about it.

The group of financial investors that bought Parkway Towers in 2008 is now selling the dilapidated, four-story building at auction on Nov. 12, or before if given the right offer.

"No reasonable offer will be refused, so to speak," said Joshua Olshin, one of the partners who headed up the investment into Parkway Towers.

He and Maurice Kadosh were the two primary figures in Parkway Towers Development Inc., which bought the site six years ago for $418,500.

The goal in 2008 was to purchase the run-down building, add three stories and turn it into a mixed-use space with commercial and residential spaces. The developers estimated the project could cost up to $40 million.

"At the time we bought it, things were in the upswing," said Olshin.

But the following year, the economy went into recession, and the investors decided to wait on putting money into Parkway Towers. For various reasons, the investors never came back to the project.

"We didn't have the focus or the energy to take this to the next step," said Olshin.

Parkway Towers presents a unique challenge because of its sturdy, 1910s industrial construction. It served originally as a Tennessee Electric Power Co., substation, storing electricity generated at the Hale's Bar Dam in Marion County.

TEPCO went under when TVA was created two decades later.

But Parkway Towers remains, long empty but stout as ever due to its interior infrastructure, designed to support substation equipment.

"It's a fasinating structure," said Paul Smith, executive director of The Stadium Corporation, which oversees Finley Stadium and the First Tennessee Pavilion, both Parway Towers neighbors.

"I always tell people that the inside walls are almost as thick as the outside walls," he said.

Smith said since taking over the job as executive director last December, he's taken calls almost daily about Parkway Towers.

"I think [callers] think the city owns it," he said.

Chattanooga at one time tried to take Parkway Towers through eminent domain, but the building's then-owner, Gary Fillers, challenged the city and took the case all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court, who ruled in his favor.

Smith said the building is now covered in graffiti, and the police sometimes have to be called to remove squatters.

He said The Stadium Corp. doesn't have the resources to purchase the building, or likely any use for it if it did.

Smith hopes someone with a vision does wind up buying the building and doing something with it.

"It's probably one of the most looked at buildings, especially right there at the conjunction of [Interstate] 24 and [Highway] 27," he said. "It's got quite a long history, for it just to sit there and continue to deterioriate."

Olshin said there isn't an absolute minimum number in mind when the auction comes. But Parkway Towers' owners are not willing to give the property away.

"If all we get is $10,000, we're not going to sell it, obviously," he said.

The building was at one time listed for $799,000, but Olshin said the owners "will definitely be taking lower than that" now.

While some of the initial investors still see the Parkway Towers project as feasible, Olshin said others at this point "would really like to unload this property."

His auction house, New York City-based Auction Advisors, will handle November's auction. Anyone interested in bidding can find more information and register for the auction at www.auctionadvisors.com.

In the mean time, Olshin said if someone were to approach the owners with enough money before the auction, they'd be willing it sell Parkway Towers out right.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at agreen@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480.


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