September 14, 2012
Group rallies to protect scenic Tennessee strip mall
The Shops at Cedar Bluff Square Plaza isn't the oldest abandoned strip mall in Knoxville. But it is one of the most typical.
The former open-area shopping mall features several empty stores arranged in a row with a sidewalk in front of them. Adjacent to the store fronts is a large parking lot which empties onto Kingston Pike. There are no sidewalks on the side of the parking lot bordering the road. All in all, the vacant slab of concrete is a thing of breathtaking ugly that conservationists are doing their best to protect.
"There are only so many abandoned strip malls available to us here in America," said local conservationist Jennifer Hunley. "When they're gone, they're gone forever. We want to make sure that these are here for our children and for our children's children."
Hunley is executive director of the Tennessee Strip Malls and Parking Lots Foundation, a statewide nonprofit organization whose vision is "to protect Tennessee's manmade concrete treasures." The group is working to raise funds to purchase the property, which is currently owned by private developers.
Hunley says that if the Tennessee Strip Malls and Parking Lots Foundation is able to purchase the property, it will allow Knoxville to enjoy its drab, fading exterior for decades to come.
"People go out and enjoy this abandoned strip mall and assume it's going to be there forever," she said. "But we don't know that. We want to protect it for future generations."
The property has been appraised at $5 million, but the developers have agreed to sell it for $4 million. The group needs to raise $1 million more by October 28 to be able to purchase the property or developers say they will begin to look for tenants.
The unnatural area provides soul-crushing views of peeling paint, towering signage and pavement. Hunley says that if the foundation is able to purchase the strip mall, they will join it to another nearby parking lot which has protected status. The two protected areas would create a concrete corridor totaling more than 10,000 acres.
TrackBack URL: http://www.notsville.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/404