As the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ building nears demolition, Metro Councilman Jason Holleman is hoping to reach a last-minute deal to save the historic structure.
Elders of the church have maintained selling the near-90-year-old vacant building at the corner of Charlotte and 46th avenues is imperative to pay off a mortgage for a new building farther west of town, where the church has combined with another congregation and presently meets. The church has filed for a demolition permit.
But losing the structure —which is not protected by an overlay — comes to the dismay of historic preservationists, including Holleman, who as representative of the surrounding Sylvan Park neighborhood has made no secret over recent years about his desire to preserve the building, which is eligible for recognition by the National Register of Historic Places.
If the congregation agrees to preserve the church building — and reduce its asking price to make it more marketable for a future rehab — then Holleman said he would sponsor legislation to “up-zone” the church’s other property down the road at 5807 Charlotte Ave., accommodating it for a dense office and/or residential use, which he said could improve its sale potential. The zone-change would be consistent with the recently adopted West Nashville Community Plan.
“We’re still holding out hope that they’re going to look at this deal,” Holleman said. “They’ve said they would consider it.”
Jim Dillingham, a leading church elder, could not be reached for comment.
Three year ago, church leaders sought to demolish the historic building to make way for a new Rite Aid pharmacy store, prompting Holleman to file a bill to prevent its demolition. As the process dragged out, the development team representing Rite Aid withdrew its proposal. (The company also withdrew plans for Rite Aids at two other locations around the same time.)
“The church is an iconic building on a corridor at a prominent location,” Holleman said. “I just think it contributes to the overall character of the corridor. I think what happens on that corner is going to be a benchmark for what happens, either positive or negative, throughout the rest of that corridor.”
Holleman said several parties have expressed interest in retrofitting the structure.