Buildings to be razed at site of proposed federal courthouse

Cooper says demolition brings facility 'one step closer'

The U.S. General Services Administration has landed a permit to demolish two of four structures located at the downtown site on which it has long planned to construct a federal courthouse.

A building last home to sushi eatery Koto and Hewgley’s Music Shop and a small parking garage adjoining that structure (both of which front Seventh Avenue North) will be razed.

Two other buildings — an art deco-era multi-story parking garage that fronts Seventh and a granite and brick structure that fronts Church Street at Eighth Avenue and that once served as state office space — will remain.

It is unclear if the demo effort signals GSA is preparing a construction timetable of the courthouse building, for which the government bought the 3.3-acre site in 2003 (read some history here). A Nashville-based GSA official declined to comment.

Saudia Muwwakkil, regional public affairs officer in GSA-s Atlanta-based Office of Communications and Marketing, simply said safety is an issue.

“In the interest of public safety, GSA is moving forward with plans to demolish two deteriorating buildings on the site of the proposed federal courthouse in Nashville,” Muwwakkil wrote in an email.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, in whose District 5 the site sits, wrote on June 13 to GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini expressing displeasure that demolition had yet to occur. That correspondence followed a letter, dated April 3, requesting the buildings be razed.

“This is progress,” Cooper (pictured), whose Main Library office is located one-half block from the site, wrote in an email to the Post today. “These old, abandoned structures are not only ugly, but public health hazards and should be torn down. Demolition brings us one step closer to building a safe courthouse for Nashville.”

Nashville-based Demo Plus Inc. has the contract, with the permit valued at $118,000.