The historic Howard House on North Broadway, whose owners sought to sell it for demolition in favor of a Walmart parking lot, is now being listed for sale by a real estate agent for the first time and at a much lower asking price.
The house at 2921 North Broadway was listed as potential office space for sale last week by George Brown with Wood Properties.
The 1910 Craftsman home was the last of many fine residential houses that once graced Broadway. It was owned for 50 years by former Knoxville City Councilman Paul Howard, who won awards for his stewardship of the property. When he died in 2014, his sons said that his will required that them to sell the house and split the proceeds. The following year, a development company that builds Walmart Neighborhood Markets offered the family $1.27 million for the property, before backing away from the deal in the face of public opposition.
That didn’t stop the controversy, however. The house became a lightning rod for the tension between private property rights and historic preservation and a driver in community efforts to redefine the appearance and development of the North Broadway corridor.
The Knox County Tax Assessor lists the home’s market value as $392,000, but executor Nick Howard sent a letter to City Council members last summer indicating that the asking price remained close to $1 million and stating his intention to ask that the property be rezoned commercial like the surrounding property. The Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission never received such a request, though, and the estate closed Dec. 2. The house is now being listed for $575,000.
Kim Trent, executive director of Knox Heritage, says the listing will make it much easier for Knox Heritage to promote to prospective buyers through its web page, Facebook page and e-newsletter.
“I think that price is more in the realm of reality for that property,” she added. “I would be more than happy to work with new owners to look into financial incentives or protections for the property that would benefit them.” Trent was a target of Nick Howard’s ire last year for helping stymie the Walmart deal without being able to raise enough money for the non-profit to buy the house itself.
This post includes background information from previous stories on this issue.
S. Heather Duncan has won numerous awards for her feature writing and coverage of the environment, government, education, business and local history during her 15-year reporting career. Originally from Western North Carolina, Heather has worked for Radio Free Europe, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in London, and several daily newspapers. Heather spent almost a dozen years at The Telegraph in Macon, Ga., where she spent most of her time covering the environment or writing project-investigations that provoked changes such as new laws related to day care and the protection of environmentally-sensitive lands. You can reach Heather at email@example.com
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