Expo center at Hickory Hollow wouldn't violate codes, official says

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 11:51am

Metro Codes Director Terry Cobb told The City Paper on Wednesday that he doesn’t believe housing an expo center and flea market at the old Dillard’s building at Hickory Hollow Mall would violate the city’s fire codes.

At a special public meeting last night, Metro Councilman Michael Craddock, who supports preserving the Metro-owned fairgrounds, raised concerns about potential fire codes violations involved with Mayor Karl Dean’s plans to move events currently held at the fairgrounds to the former Dillard’s building.

The council is set to consider an ordinance that outlines leases for the Hickory Hollow project in the coming weeks.

According to Craddock, Metro’s fire code would only allow fewer than 5,000 people in the building at one time because he said it is a “mercantile building.”

The most recent flea market, held in October, had around 700 vendors. With the addition of family and friends of the vendors, as well as visitors inside the new expo center, Craddock said the number of occupants could exceed the number that is allowed.

“Are we actually, ladies and gentlemen, going to put someone at the door with a counter and count the people going in and out of the building?” Craddock said. “How are we going to accommodate some 10,000 or 15,000 in the Dilliard’s expo center at one time like we do at the fairgrounds?”

But Cobb, who heads the codes department, said he doesn’t believe there would be any issues, adding that the building would qualify as a covered mall instead of a mercantile building.

“A covered mall is an occupancy group that includes stores, restaurants, theaters, food courts, all kinds of things,” Cobb said. “Actually, the walkway area of the mall is considered in the code to be considered a street.

“There’s obviously some codes issues to be addressed in the design and construction of anything, but I don’t see anything that would be considered unusual in proposing an expo center within a covered mall,” Cobb said.

19 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 11/10/10 at 11:38

10-15K at one time at the fairgrounds? LOL

By: concernedtaxpayer on 11/10/10 at 11:47

gdiafante: yes 10-15k. evidently you never go to any of the flea markets. There has been 25,000-50,000 people on the property several times at once in the past.

Real question is: If the flea market actually does move to the mall, how many are actually going to go to pay $3/person to get in? A flea market is not meant to be in a nice building and have high prices. The purpose of one is for small businesses and other individuals to come together at one place to sell and offer deals on products. But Dean and his cronies know nothing about this because they do not attend events like this.

And Dean mentioned that the fairgrounds is empty 6 out of 7 days. Well Dean, you can blame that on yourself for putting Dozier in the position to run the fairgrounds into the ground. If Dozier had better employees that focused on sales, the fairgrounds could stay busy 5 or 6 days a week.

By: 117_acres on 11/10/10 at 11:54

Councilman Craddock is grasping at straws and fighting wind mills.

By: karlwithak on 11/10/10 at 11:56

Facts people, facts...

Fact is over 250 events took place last year at the very place dean says sits empty 6 days a week.

It's a black and white issue, those numbers are indisputable.

The fact that dean has told a lie everytime he's opened his mouth on this issue is also indisputable.

Keep em coming karl, the reinforcements are on the way

You aren't andrew jackson, but you'll share something in common soon enough.

By: 117_acres on 11/10/10 at 12:00

Do the people who attend the flea market pay an admission fee? They pay to park if they choose to but they do not pay an admission fee. So, technically you could have 10-15k people just walking around in circles without every buying or paying for anything. Sorry, but I'm not going to defend flea market vendors who mainly live outside of Nashville. Also, you do not need 117 acres of land to have a flea market. The Dillards building should be a nice space for the vendors.

By: karlwithak on 11/10/10 at 12:11

Is this 117 guy serious ?
So nashville doesn't want 10-15 thousand TOURISTS coming to town once a month ?
Wow, 117 acres must represent how much space is needed for the manure you spread when u type a sentence.
Here's a hint dude, the nashville flea market would be the largest in the south if people weren't spending money !

Are people really this out of touch with reality ?
I'm convinved you have to be a state employee !

By: courier37027 on 11/10/10 at 12:21

“Are we actually, ladies and gentlemen, going to put someone at the door with a counter and count the people going in and out of the building?” Craddock said. Wow, so accessing Hickory Hollow Mall will be like getting into a prestigious night club? Will Rock Solid Security provide manpower to enforce limited number of shoppers?

Doorman says, "I am sorry, sir. You are not on the list to enter. Stand behind the rope. Wait here please."

By: NewYorker1 on 11/10/10 at 1:28

I hope they put a Neiman Marcus in Hickory Hollow Mall.

By: gdiafante on 11/10/10 at 1:43

Yes, unfortunately I have been to the flea market. If there were over 5K there I'd be surprised. Do you even know what 25K looks like?

By: dwight14 on 11/10/10 at 1:53

dont forget who 117acres is..just a house flipper out there that is in this for the money...he has no respect for anyone but himself on these matters..so just ignore him...dean is headed down a path he is soon going to find impassable...spending millions when the fairgrounds property is already paid for..yeah this makes sense lol...how ignorant...the council is beginning to see the light...heck why not fix up the fairgrounds and just improve on whats paid for instead of spending tons of tax payer dollars on a wishing well that is doomed for failure...and this talk of 6500 new jobs in office space at the fairgrounds? heck he cant even fill any of the tousands of squre feet of empty office space already here...smells of corruption..looks like king karl has made some under the table deals for cash and is scared to back away from this huge mistake he is trying to force feed the tax payers...anyone can see this...need a calculator? start doing the math..its simple..

By: dwight14 on 11/10/10 at 1:59

i go to the flea market a lot..i know what 170,000 people look like..every been to bristol speedway or talladega or daytona? you get to know what a crowd size looks like...ive seen the place packed with id say at least 12,000 if not more..elbow to elbow somtimes...it draws several hundred tho a yr out there...dont tell me what a crowd size looks like...now i will agree,sometimes maybe only 8 grand shows up,but thats not the norm...but go enough and you will see the avg is in the 5 figure mark not the 4 figure mark lol...geez...

By: RTungsten on 11/10/10 at 3:16

$3 is $3 more than I've spent at a Flea Market in the last 28 years. I'll pass, although I'm for the move. While we are rebuilding that area, let's go ahead and build the new city dump in Antioch....and maybe CCA can build a new immigration prison out there as well. So much potential!!

By: NewYorker1 on 11/10/10 at 4:33

A Bloomingdales in Hickory Hollow Mall would be nice.

By: RTungsten on 11/10/10 at 4:53

A bulldozer to Hickory Hollow Mall would be nice.

By: MAmom on 11/10/10 at 10:10

Honestly... did anyone expect him to say anything else? Of course the Codes Director agreed with the Mayor - everyone in Metro government (including many on the Council) are afraid of him. He will probably be glad when this spotlight is gone.

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You can't just look at the weight of people alone - you have to add the weight of the stuff.
--How much does flea market stuff weigh?
--What does all that stuff at the home show weigh?
--What do the boats at the boat show weigh?
-- Etc...

HH was NOT built to support that kind of load. And what happens when loading/unloading happens and, with the lousy access at HH, vendors & their wares are funnelled & the weight load is concentrated to relatively small areas.

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Wouldn't HH be a great home for a Corporate Campus "redevelopment"? If it's good enough for regular people - shouldn't it be good enough for Dean's business buddies? No... K. Dean thinks wealthy business people (like him and his friends) deserve the Fairgrounds property .. the rest of us get the sorry facilities at HH.

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Fight Dean's plan. Contact Councilmembers. And please attend the Council meeting next week.

By: xhexx on 11/11/10 at 8:54

Dean doesn't want to commercially redevelop Hickory Harlem. It's not downtown. That's the only part of town he gives a crap about. He only wants the honky-tonks to thrive. Ever notice he always looks drunk in every photo?

By: Community-carl-... on 11/11/10 at 9:09

It's pretty obvious that Dean and his cronies have made self-serving "under the table" commitments to certain elitist individuals and entities regarding the relocation (and gradual demise) of the various fairground activites. All this while showing blatent disregard for us "ordinary citizens." He seems to be determined to have his way no matter what the majority of local citizens want. Friends, this IS NOT democracy in action.

I am sick and tired of his public speeches where he basically says the majority of the local citizens want everything he wants. His and his cronies' manipulation of facts and statistics to support his assertions and directives usually amount to distortions and outright lies. At this point, I have no confidence in Dean or his administration. I am dumbfounded why the media persists in always giving him the benefit of the doubt. The man needs to be run out of town on a rail.

By: bfra on 11/11/10 at 2:28

Community-carl - You've got slick willy, preacher hair styled Karl pegged! To-a-tee.

By: MAmom on 11/11/10 at 9:02

Thank you Community-carl- for saying: Dean "and his cronies' manipulation of facts and statistics to support his assertions and directives usually amount to distortions and outright lies."

It has occurred to me a lot recently how USELESS most Nashville newspapers, radio & television organizations have been throughout the Fairgrounds fight. EXCEPT, of course, the Citypaper and sometimes WSMV. Even though I have not always agreed with their coverage - I can see that they have tried to be fair.

Even though there are two valid points of view about the Fairgrounds, K Dean has license to say anything he wants - unsubstantiated - and it is published as if fact. Then, as if promulgating lies by the mayor is not bad enough, the media then ignores or belittles people who disagree with the Dean's plans. They have been especially harsh to Duane Dominy. If you have ever met this man, you know how undeserved these attacks have been.

WHERE IS THE HONEST AND OBJECTIVE PRESS THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO MAKE DECISIONS?

Why didn't local journalists:
(1) ask for proforma financials showing what assumptions were used to calculate Dean's (overstated) re-development revenues?
(2) ask for proforma financials of the income projections of moving events to the Hickory Hollow properties? What assumptions is he making?
(3) investigate whether purported "declining" Fairgrounds net income was legitimate?
(4) ask about interfund transfers and disappearing Investments?
(5) investigate the "Rockhouse" organization that was selected to run the 2010 State fair? One of the four partners was Chrysty Fortner - the woman that ran Dean's "Grass Roots Campaign" for 10 months.
(6) why wasn't there some investigation when "Rockhouse" was selected to run the fair over organizations which made higher, legitimate bids who had experience with running State Fairs. Especially after making a shocking low bid to run the fair for an 18-day event (less than $85,000). In prior years the Fair had revenues of between $1.2 and $1.5 million.
(7) HAS THE LOCAL MEDIA LOOKED INTO THE LEGALITY OF WHAT KARL DEAN IS PROPOSING? The Fairgrounds are restricted property - set aside for a specific purpose - to be used (USED) by the people of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. It was never meant to be sold for "commercial redevelopment". But then again the city fathers could have never imagined the day when a "slick" like Dean would rule the city.

I subscribe to the Tennessean now out of curiousity... to see if there are any Fairgrounds articles or letters in it. After the Fairgrounds issue is settled I will cancel my subscription to the Tennessean because of their biased reporting of the Fairgrounds fight. Their coverage is symptomatic of a lack of integrity, honesty and objectivity on the part of the Tennessean's editorial staff. I honestly believe the local press is afraid of the mayor. This is a sad example of what happens when the press and governement are in collusion.

"The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood." --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

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If you can... go to next Tuesday's Metro Council meeting. Show them Dean that you care about the Fairgrounds and want it protected... not "redeveloped".