Memphis Preservationists Plan Last Efforts to Stop Landmark's Demoliton

Memphis Preservationists Plan Last Efforts to Stop Landmark's Demoliton

It's not looking good for one of Memphis' most historic buildings. The 19th Century Club is on the way to being demolished.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - It's not looking good for one of Memphis' most historic buildings. The 19th Century Club is on the way to being demolished.

The owners were in court Monday. The judge ordered them to present a demolition plan next week. Many Memphians hate the idea and plan to protest.

Preservationists who want to save the 19th Century Club will be out in full force the next two days.

"Tuesday and Wednesday starting at 5:30," says Joey Hagan. "A bunch of preservationists will be out here picketing the property to try to save it."

Hagan is president of Memphis Heritage, just one of many groups trying to save the building.

"It's fabulous inside," he says. "Mantels are shipped over from Europe. One of the first indoor showers in North America is in that bathroom right up there where that window is. So cool."

With no legal avenues left, preservationists are hoping public pressure will change the owner's mind. An Arkansas couple that owns several local Asian restaurants bought the building last January.

"What we understand they want to do is do a strip shopping mall here like what's all up and down Union Avenue. You see it everywhere."

You don't see buildings like this 19th Century Club. Even the Environmental Court judge said it's not a wise decision to demolish it.

"Judge Potter clearly wanted to save the building. His hands are tied," says Hagan.

The judge has ordered the owner to present a plan for demolition.

"I don't want it to be torn down. It's a landmark like all the rest of these buildings they're tearing down and blowing up," says Angelo Taylor. "It's a landmark. I resent it."

"There are some zoning issue hurdles," says Hagan. He's curious if the owner's plans for a new business are feasible. The site isn't zoned to have parking right off Union.

"Your building has to be on Union and you can have no parking between the building and the street so your parking would have to be on the rear, which of course doesn't work well for that use."

The club's owners are due back in court July 9th.
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