Demolition of historic building in Midtown delayed

Demolition of historic building in Midtown delayed

(WMC-TV) - The demolition of a historic building in Midtown will be delayed until a lawsuit filed in court Thursday is resolved.

Shelby County Chancery Court Judge Walter Evans issued a temporary restraining order during a hearing.

The Nineteenth Century Club is a 106-year-old mansion on Union Avenue. A war over whether it should stay or go was waged when its new owners won the building at auction.

Demolition prep work at the old mansion began earlier this week. But all work must now stop after a lawsuit was filed questioning the validity of the way the circa 1907 mansion was sold at auction by the 19th Century Club.

Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy, who is a law professor, took the case pro bono.

"There's a TN statute that says if a nonprofit is going to sell off its assets, then it has to do so by a vote of the full membership," said Mulroy. "It can't just be the officers making that decision which is what happened here."

Mulroy was contacted by members of the club interested in preserving the building after efforts in environmental court were exhausted.

And then in ten days ... Have another hearing which we'll put on evidence and the judge will decide whether a longer injunction against demolition is appropriate."

This latest legal wrangling follows months of debate, even protests, over the future of what is the last grand home on Union Avenue.

The new owners want to build a commercial center in its place.

Action News 5 tried to reach the new owners, who operate a number of restaurants around the city. Neither they nor their attorney called the station back.

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