Rusty Wallace Chevrolet still eyeing 205 Main building

County approves letting company do environmental impact survey

There may be a new lease on life for 205 Main Street in the works.

Rusty Wallace Chevrolet officials met with Anderson County government within the past month to outline a proposal that may or may not put the property back on the tax rolls and possibly generate a steady sales tax revenue.

It’s never that easy, however.

County Commission did approve a resolution that would allow Rusty Wallace Chevrolet to do a full environmental impact study on the site — at the car dealership’s expense. District Four Commissioner Tim Isbel told the commission that he and Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank talked with the dealership.

The Rusty Wallace Collision Center provides body repairs for all Rusty Wallace dealerships, including those in Knox and other counties.

The dealership’s idea is to use the 205 Main address as a sort of central clearance lot for selling those vehicles.

Isbel said, “The intention is to fix up the building,” not tear it down, though it would be stripped to the core building.

He also said the dealership is firm on its $300,000 offer.

Rusty Wallace Chevrolet bid that amount when the county put the property up as surplus property.

District Three Commissioner Denver Waddell noted that two other businesses made higher bids during that process. However, both businesses backed down on their bids.

“We spent a lot of time selling a building and the price just keeps lower and lower,” Waddell said. “I don’t see how we can entertain letting someone do an environmental (impact study), when we’re not going to sell it for a loss.”

The county paid $600,000 for the property to use as a senior citizens center, but mold and other structural problems with the building has left it sitting empty for two years.

District Six Commissioner Steve Mead said that if the county did eventually sell the property, “We would end up having a major improvement right here on Main Street, from a strong, local company that pulls in business from the counties around us.”

Waddell was not convinced.

“If we accept $300,000, we still owe the $615-620,000, plus interest,” he said. “We’re selling the property and we’re going to be paying for the building?”

But a “sale” is a long way off.

Third District Commissioner Joshua Anderson asked if there were any negatives to come out from the environmental impact study, would that affect Rusty Wallace’s interest?

Isbel said he understood the only concern the company had was whether there were storage tanks in the ground on the property.

Mayor Frank pointed out the county still would abide by the purchasing laws and the property would have to be let out for bid again.