KNOXVILLE (April 18, 2017) – Today, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett announced the start of a formal process that will hopefully result in the sale and redevelopment of the historic Andrew Johnson Building in downtown Knoxville. This week, at the Mayor’s direction, the Knox County Purchasing Department released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the sale and redevelopment of the property.
The sale of the AJ building is something Mayor Burchett has advocated for and worked toward since taking office. Today’s announcement marks a significant step toward seeing the property placed back on the tax rolls.
“The time is right to get this historic property into the hands of the private sector so they can do what they do best: create jobs, boost economic development and provide revenue for our schools, infrastructure and other county services,” said Mayor Burchett.
After it opened in late 1929, the Andrew Johnson Hotel saw guests ranging from Presidents and other political leaders to celebrities.
“Hank Williams Sr. spent his last night alive in that building and very well may have died there, and then-vice-presidential candidate Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird visited Sen. Albert Gore Sr. at the hotel during a September 1960 campaign stop,” said Mayor Burchett. “In addition to the economic benefits of redeveloping this property, it’s also important we work to preserve our area’s historic structures when possible.”
According to the RFP, “A fundamental aspect of the reuse of the Andrew Johnson Building should be the preservation of its historic character.”
Currently, the Knox County Schools administration is located in the building. The County continues to work with KCS to identify potential options for relocating those administrative offices. Additionally, RFP respondents may include a recommendation for relocation in their RFP response.
“I’m happy to see this process moving forward,” said Mayor Burchett. “I look forward to seeing what the private sector has to offer.”
The Andrew Johnson Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
All responses to the RFP must be turned in to County Purchasing by 2 p.m. on JULY 13, 2017 (UPDATED MAY 5, 2017).