Bristol, TN leaders review proposals for historic State St. building

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BRISTOL, TN (WJHL) – A historic building in Bristol, Tennessee that was almost demolished will soon have a new owner.

“It’s the backdrop of the Bristol sign at the railroad tracks and it’s probably one of the most photographed buildings in our community,” said Bristol Tennessee City Manager Bill Sorah.

The building is located at 200 State Street. It was built in the early 1900’s and has mostly been used as an old warehouse. Sorah told News Channel 11, at one point, the Bristol sign stood on top of it.

A few years ago, the owner of the building had plans to demolish it, until Bristol leaders stepped in. The City bought the building for $250,000 and paid about $125,000 to bring it up to code. But now, the city is ready for new owners to take over the project.

“A little over a year ago the city requested proposals. We’ve received 2 proposals over time,” said Sorah.

Sorah said the first proposal would turn the first floor into a restaurant and the second floor into retail space.

Sorah said the second proposal would expand a business that sits just a few feet away, the YWCA.

“As the board of directors looked at a business plan, that included expansion to strengthen our community,” said Bristol YWCA Executive Director Kathy Waugh.

Waugh said their organization has the only income-based childcare program in Bristol.

“We are at full capacity and have a waiting list at our childcare center which is the largest program that the YWCA manages,” said Waugh.

Waugh told News Channel 11, there are more than 200 children on their waiting list, and the historic building would allow them to serve more kids.

“The best models are those that have a central headquarters and we want that central headquarters to remain in Bristol,” said Waugh.

Waugh said if the city decides to sell the building to the YWCA, restoring the existing structure will be one of their priorities.

“To keep the historical integrity would be extremely important for us,” said Waugh.

Thursday night during a city council workshop, city leaders reviewed proposals from the YWCA and another organization hoping to buy the building.

City leaders said they hope to make a decision soon, so the building doesn’t continue to sit vacant.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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