Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Knoxville work crew inadvertently demolishes sold county house

Before/after 1611 E. Glenwood Ave.
Imagine you have agreed to sell your house. As you're about to close the deal, someone else comes to your property and tears the house to the ground.

That's exactly what happened in East Knoxville where Knox County sold an abandoned home at auction to a man from California. While the county and buyer proceeded with the purchase, the City of Knoxville was moving forward with plans to raze the blighted house.

"It was sold at public auction for $7,200. The day before we were doing a closing, we learned the city had inadvertently demolished the home. Obviously, when we went to close, the gentleman who had purchased the home was not interested in closing," said Hugh Holt, purchasing director for Knox County.

The house at 1611 E. Glenwood Avenue was demolished on August 6. The abandoned property came into the county's possession by default after years of delinquent property taxes.

David Brace, director of public works for the City of Knoxville, said the home had been on a list for demolition for some time. The city demolishes around 60 to 70 blighted structures every year.

"We will demolish a home when it is a health or safety issue to a neighborhood or a community," said Brace. "If you live next door to one of these [houses], they're horrible. People break into them, steal the copper out of them, drugs, prostitution, and so on. So they're a real serious issue. That house had been blighted for a long time. It had been a problem for the community for many years."

Holt said without the house on the property, similar parcels have sold for around $1,000. While that's a considerable drop relative to an auctioned price of $7,200, it is still only a few thousand dollars in the grand scheme of things. The greater concern is ensuring a similar demolition mix-up does not occur in the future.

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