Vote delayed on Pinch District historical designation

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A vote to decide whether to strip the Pinch District of its designation on theNational Register of Historic Places has been delayed.

The Tennessee Historical Commission was to vote today on whether the area still qualifies.

It was believed the commission would recommend the Pinch District should no longer remain on the National Register because a large number of historic properties have been demolished.

The commission told WREG only 19 of the 43 contributing structures remain from when this district was listed.

Many were torn down to build parking lots when the Pyramid was open.

Lee Harris, the newly elected state senator from Memphis, asked the vote be delayed until May.

Harris said he wants more input from business owners and the community before a vote is taken.

When the Bass Pro Pyramid opens this May, the entire area is expected to get a boost and possibly redevelopment.

As Alex Coleman told us in a special WREG report, losing the designation makes it easier for buildings to be torn down and for governmental control.

Jake Schorr, owner of Westy’s and the Northend Restaurants on North Main Street since 1983, told us, “I think it’s a major blow for the future, yes not just me, but the people that have the buildings down here. There are not a lot of us here, but when you have restrictions removed and they want to do something with it, it’s easier for them to do it."

Many hope the Pinch keeps its historic title with perhaps smaller boundaries, or delay a vote to prevent the Pinch from becoming just a memory.

This attachment from the Tennessee Historical Commission explains why it is considering de-listing the Pinch District.

The commission also decided to add the downtown's tallest tower, the 100 North Main building, to the National Register of Historic Places. The move allows developers to seek special tax credits for turning the the building into apartments and a hotel.

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