City afraid blighted downtown property is on the brink of collapse

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Blight strikes every corner of Memphis.

Even the most popular parts, like downtown Memphis.

Thursday Judge Larry Potter stepped in to let inspectors into a building.

The city is afraid 107 Main Street is on the brink of collapse.

It's dead space on a very busy block of downtown, but City Attorney Steve Barlow hopes it won't stay that way.

Steve Barlow, a Memphis City Attorney, explained, “What we're trying to determine is if the water has done enough damage, to date, that the building is a danger.”

The property is owned by Allan Long,  an executive at MLGW.

But Thursday he wasn't in court.

The city is afraid this failing wall could do serious damage and filed an emergency hearing with Judge Potter.

They say the measurable moisture levels have them worried.

Barlow added, “You'll see that it's 100% in some cases. And that is from the basement walls of surrounding buildings.”

They haven't been able to get in to see the damage yet, but that changed Thursday.

Judge Potter ruled two inspectors, one hired by each side, will scope the place out and present their findings in a few weeks.

Main Street business owners, like Kelly Smith at the Life is Good store are thrilled by this news.

“ Word is it's been gutted, and that's all we know,” she explained.

They also knew this empty building was bad for everyone else’s business.

No one wanted to look at an empty space.

They said it's high time the owner lets someone move in.

Late last year WREG told you about a new blight clinic partnership with the University of Memphis Law School.

“ These law students are authorized to practice law on a limited base in front of Judge Potter even though they aren't graduated, yet,” Barlow explained.

This is one of the more than 100 cases they've helped with so far.  Barlow says the partnership helped the city process a lot more blight cases, just like this one.

The two sides will be back in court on April 23rd to find out what the inspectors have to say.