The City of Knoxville has filed an order against the owner of the old South High School building on Moody Ave. to protect it from further deterioration. The owner, Bahman Kasraei, purchased the building in 2008 and was placed under a historic zoning overlay by the city council in 2011. Kasraei did not respond to multiple notices from the city for letting the building fall into disrepair, and was cited under the Demolition by Neglect ordinance last month.
previously reported on the Demolition by Neglect ordinance (here
, and here
), which was given "more teeth" this past spring when Mayor Madeline Rogero included $100,000 in the city's budget to actually enforce the ordinance, which has been on the books for years.
In a press release from the city, David Brace, director of the city's Public Service Department, says the first thing the city will do is determine the immediate threats to the building. "Then," he says, "if the owner still has not acted, we will seek bids from contractors to do the work necessary to prevent the loss of this historic building."
If the city does repairs, they can bill the owner of the building.
Neighborhood blight has been a big issue during Rogero's administration. The mayor lives next to a blighted property herself.
"Neglected properties create hazards to the surrounding neighborhoods and damage property values. We want negligent property owners to know that we intend to be aggressive about combating blight in our community," she says in the press release.