Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Construction Update - December 10, 2009

We are continuing to make good progress on both the 100 Block and the 200 Block of S. Gay Street albeit with some bumps along the way.

An example of this was our problem with removing the old KUB vaults on the east side of S. Gay Street this week. These vaults have housed transformers for almost 50 years and since there is a small chance of contamination, KUB has hired an environmental contractor specializing in hazard abatement to remove the vaults.

As I have related here before, one of the vaults is in front of the Emporium and actually in the underground sidewalk area on the east side. Indeed, our work there is currently held up in exploratory digging on the columns on the east side while we await the removal of this vault.

Yesterday I walked down for our weekly construction meeting and was immediately stopped on my way by folks at the Emporium concerned with the vault work and its impact on the Black Box Theater on the second level of the Emporium building. The Black Box Theatre folks are hosting an International Convention of world musicians this week including some from Trinidad and they were to begin practicing for their concerts at the Bijou Theater on Friday and Saturday night inside the Black Box Theater.

The noise was horrendous from the machinery removing the vault but even more disturbing to them was the hole that had appeared in their brick wall separating them from the old underground sidewalk (see first pic below).

I then went to the construction meeting with this news and found that folks there were already well aware of this issue. Gordon Bryant and Everett Noe from KUB relayed the situation to me which was the Black Box Theater wall was in fact the outside wall of the vault to be removed.

The Black Box Theatre actually did not have an exterior wall separating them from the old underground sidewalk. This made a lot of sense in hindsight given their issues with stormwater penetration into their space. Our Contractor on the 100 Block had said that he suspected a problem here but we had no idea the problem was in fact not a poorly constructed wall but no wall at all.

The hole that was encountered was a result of the KUB Contractor investigating the condition of what was thought to be the exterior wall to the Black Box Theater by taking out a single brick in the wall to the vault. The Contractor and KUB were both surprised to find themselves actually peering into the Black Box Theater.

After the construction meeting and armed with this new knowledge, KUB folks met with folks at the Emporium and were able to work out a compromise on rehearsal and timing of construction. Then we went to Dewhirst Properties who has management responsibilities for the Emporium Building with the wall issue or rather the lack of a wall. I am happy to say that folks there were most accommodating and agreed to begin constructing an exterior wall today.

The second picture is of one the the wonderful groups rehearsing in The Black Box Theatre at the Emporium (the wall in question is behind the singer) and the next two pictures are of the east side underground sidewalk area taken by the to-be-removed KUB vault.

Thanks to everyone involved, Lisa Zinni and Cheryl Jenkins at the Emporium, Linda Parris-Bailey of the Black Box Theater, Everett Noe and Gordon Bryant at KUB, David Dewhirst, Mark Heinz and AnnMarie Tugwell at Dewhirst Properties for all coming together in a spirit of compromise to resolve this issue quickly.

We are indeed fortunate to have these types of folks on the 100 Block.

Work is also continuing on the 100 Block. We had a slight glitch with some of the design grades but are on track, weather permitting, to begin pouring the concrete for this first section of sidewalk next week. We plan to begin the next section in front of the UT Gallery and URHbana next week as well.

Work is moving ahead on the 200 Block of S. Gay Street. We hope to begin pouring concrete in the first section of roadway this week. The east sidewalk has been removed and forms are being put in place to begin this reconstruction. We are hopeful we can have this work completed by the first of the year. This will also include reconstructing the section through the intersection with Vine Avenue so folks should have a nice entrance way into the 100 Block soon.

Some of the remaining utility work to be done includes the installation of a waterline (see below), near the intersection of Vine Avenue and S. Gay Street.

Of course remember the electric outage planned for tonight and tomorrow as described in my last post.

The Christmas Parade and First Friday were both a success and many thanks to all of the residents and merchants on the 100 Block for all of their Christmas decorations. With the construction, the City of Knoxville is obviously not able to help there as much as we would like but our hats are off to you for making the block look festive.

Folks at the City and CBID are working hard on an advertising plan for the 100 Block merchants and also on some sort of sign to be placed near the existing "We are Open" sign. I will post more in the near future when I have more information.

As always, I hope you are enjoying the Holiday season.

Thanks for your interest.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for updates and after reading the article it seems that the construction work is going at a good pace and I hope it gets completed without any problem arising in the construction.

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