The historic Tennessee Brewery, which was threatened to be demolished in less than a week, will be around for at least another 90 days and possibly for years to come.
James Rasberry, the building's listing agent, says he has executed a contract with a "viable buyer." There's a 90-day due diligence period, where the potential buyer will be able to have various inspections done on the 100-plus-year-old structure. Rasberry said that means demolition, which was set for early August, will be postponed at least 90 days. Rasberry said he's not at liberty to say who the potential buyer is.
"I don't have a guarantee, but I think these guys are the genuine article," Rasberry said. "They are certainly capable and desirous of getting the building to closing. I would say this is as good a contract as I've had since the top of the real estate market when we were promoting it more of a residential development than a mixed use."
But Rasberry, who has previously said that he's "kissed a lot of frogs" looking for a buyer over the years, is cautiously optimistic. He said he's continuing to show the building to other potential buyers during the due diligence period.
"It's not like we're going to quit showing the property. I've got one other group that has submitted a letter of intent, and they're quite willing to do the deal themselves. I will continue to show it so that if for whatever reason it doesn't work out, maybe we'll have someone in the wings," he said.
The Tennessee Brewery building was once home to the now-defunct Goldcrest Beer. No beer has been brewed there since 1954, and the building, which was sold to A. Karchmer and Sons Scrap Metal in the mid-1950s, has been vacant since 1981. The building's owner, Kevin Norman, purchased the property in 1997 in the hope of salvaging the historic building. He's been trying to sell the building unsuccessfully for years.
From late April to early June, a group of investors — restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter — organized a pop-up beer garden inside the brewery to raise awareness about the need to save the building. To read more about "Untapped" and the brewery's history, check out this Flyer cover story.