Residents Sound Off On What Could Become Of Warehouses

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Knoxville (WVLT) For years, preservationists hoped for the restoration of the McClung warehouses.

But this week's fire certainly put those plans into question.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more on what local residents hope will be put in its place.

Dozens of Old City residents and workers watched the historic building come down.

They all want something different in, but just hope it's something worth while.

In a matter of minutes part of the McClung Warehouse Company dating back to 1893 fell to a pile of rubble.

Vanessa Bigler says, "its devastating."

Joe Granato says, "I think it's unfortunate that it happened."

Many bystanders watched the demolition in awe, wishing the piece of history could have been saved.

Lyndsey Nelson, a downtown Knoxville resident says, "there's not a whole lot left and people always renovating new places so it gets really hard to see everything destroyed."

Now that the warehouse is gone, owner Mark Saroff must decide what to do with the Old City eyesore.

And many Knoxvillians have some ideas for him.

Granato continues, "I think maybe something like the lofts like they have downtown I think would be a good move to put in there."

Chrisitan Marin says, "museums, art gallery's, would be something interesting. Or maybe more restaurants or bar venues."

Nelson continues, "maybe a nice restaurant would be nice, old town restraint."

Mother of two Vanessa Bigler has something very different in mind.

"I'd like to see something for children, you know, like a play area or something like that, cause we've just recently moved here, and there's really nothing for kids that i have found."

Marin caught the whole thing on tape, and says whatever goes in, must be carefully thought out.

"Its very important because you have the Market Square, Gay Street, and the Old City and its right in between, so it would link all the places together."

Many say they just want to see the Old City history kept alive.

Nelson says, "I would not like to see something like new and renovated and something that totally destroys the whole feeling that they have down here."

Warehouse owner Mark Saroff says it's to soon to discuss further plans for the property.

And it won't happen over night.

But when it does it should be interesting.

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