The future of one of downtown Nashville’s most well known government buildings is uncertain, the result of budgetary concerns.
Gov. Bill Haslam Monday night was set to give his State of the State address, in which he will present an overview of his proposed budget. The budget is expected to address expenses related to the Cordell Hull Building, a limestone-clad modernist structure that sits in the shadows of the Tennessee State Capitol at 425 Fifth Ave. N.
Haslam's budget calls for relocating current occupants, paying off outstanding debt and demolishing the building at a cost of nearly $25 million. State officials say it would cost $45 million to perform the required maintenance in the building, making it less expensive to rip it down than to fix it up, although there's no decision yet as to whether the state would sell the property.
The building, which was constructed in 1952-53, sits next to the art deco John Sevier State Office Building, whose fate is also unknown. However, state employees might soon be vacating the Hull building (click on the attachment below to view an image of Hull, on left, courtesy of Google Maps) and word is circulating among the building's office workers that a razing is one option on the table.
Tim Walker, director of the Metro Historical Commission, said demolishing the Hull building would be a major architectural loss. The building teams with the aforementioned Sevier building and, on the west side of the State Capitol, the state library/archives and Supreme Court buildings. The quartet of limestone structures frames the capitol.
“It was built at a time when government buildings were seen as a source of civic pride,” said Tim Walker, director of the Metro Historical Commission. “It’s a really nice building. We don’t build buildings like that now.”
The Hull building houses several state agencies, including the Department of Health and the Department of Children’s Services.