Demolition complete on Broadway

Jeremy Styron-News-Herald

Work crews have wrapped up about a month long project of clearing five vacant homes and a two-story building on a piece of property along the west end of Broadway Street.

"We are in the process of drawing the plans, schematic designs," Leon Williams, with Maryville-based Leon Williams Contractors, said. "The demolition is pretty much complete, and they're engaging the architect now for a schematic design."

He said the property has been tested for asbestos and mercury and has passed a state inspection.
"We, of course, went through the asbestos testing and the whole nine yards," Williams said. "That property's been tested on everything from one end of the world to the other."

Leslie Johnson, with the Lenoir City Code Enforcement office, said the site, which includes five lots, was acquired about a year ago by Manuel Cornego, who runs La Lupita Mexican stores in Loudon and Maryville.

"He had acquired those properties for a future commercial development," Johnson said. "We don't have any plans in writing yet, but the first step, of course, was to get the old structures gone."

"It was a much-needed eyesore that went away without me having to step in and do anything, so I liked it even better," Johnson added.

Williams said the buildings also presented a safety concern for the city.

"The city of Lenoir City really encouraged us to get on the program," Williams said. "They wanted those houses brought to the ground for safety concerns, vagrants and things like that. They were being used."

While plans are not concrete, Williams said he thought the owner was going to construct some commercial space on the site similar to the buildings that house La Lupita in Loudon.

"My understanding it's going to be similar to what we've got in Loudon," Williams said. "We did that one for him in Loudon. It would be a carbon copy of something similar to that."

Maria Cornego, Manuel's daughter, said she did not know when construction would begin.
"I'm not sure what his plans are yet," Maria said.

Williams said his company and Manuel were currently "ironing the details" and getting drawings together to be able to get an estimated budget on construction.

"We're more of a design-build contractor," Williams said. "All of our clients, we try to take them up a set of steps one step at a time. I've seen a lot of people spend big dollars for plans and budgets on the building they want, and then when the final figures come back, it's twice what they think it's going to be, and they've spent big bucks doing the paperwork, and they can't use it."