Keeping Cordell Hull Building Now Considered The State’s Cheapest Choice

About a thousand people work in the Cordell Hull building.  Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN
The state has been moving workers out of the Cordell Hull Building. Offices for the Department of Children’s Services and the Attorney General are the last still there; they’re scheduled for relocation next May. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

The report that called for tearing down the Cordell Hull State Office Building in Nashville was sound, according to a new study commissioned by Tennessee’s Department of General Services. But now officials say keeping the building might be the most cost-effective plan.

The initial report said the Cordell Hull Building and another next door were too expensive to renovate and should be demolished. But it was conducted by Jones Lang Lasalle, a real estate firm that stood to benefit from those recommendations.

So the state got a second opinion. The new study compares both cost estimates line by line. It finds the numbers from Jones Lang Lasalle were not inflated.

However, those initial calculations included selling the buildings or the land they’re on. But now officials say that’s such an unlikely prospect it shouldn’t even be considered. That’s because the property is immediately adjacent to the state capitol building, and the city has height restrictions in that area. Any new construction could only be half as tall as the Cordell Hull building. Take out the potential income from a sale, and they say the cheapest option may be renovating the Cordell Hull building and replacing the other structure with a parking garage.

Nina Cardona

Nina Cardona is WPLN's host for All Things Considered. As a reporter, she covers a wide range of assignments with an emphasis on culture, the arts and local history. A graduate of Converse College, she's lived in Middle Tennessee most of her life.
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