Ellis Avenue concept drawing

A digital design from Knoxville-based Johnson Architecture shows a concept for the entertainment venue planned for Ellis Avenue in Maryville. Developers must first tear down the current structure that once was used as an armory.

The tear-down of a nearly century-old building at 496 Ellis Avenue is one step closer to reality after developers scored final approval for demolition and a rebuild Monday.

Set to become an entertainment-meets-eatery venue, the building was once an armory, a roller-skating rink and a salvage house, according to city planning notes and documents created by Johnson Architecture, which is overseeing the project.

Planning commissioners Monday unanimously voted to approve the project, separately approving the demolition and the new building, which is set to look very similar to the warehouse as it currently stands and may even use some materials from the current building.

Though it was originally slated for renovation, architects recently surveyed the site and decided the building was unsafe as it stood.

A decision to demolish first scored approved from Maryville’s Downtown Design Review Board during its June 14 meeting.

There, board members asked if the site would get some sort of historical marker, given its significance to the city, and architects said that might be a future consideration.

After Monday's approval from the planning commission, the project doesn't need any other city board actions to move forward.

Developers have not announced a timeline for the project during public meetings, but have expressed eagerness to get the project done and assurance that the land won't simply remain empty after the demolition.

Planning commissioners Monday said they were excited to see an entertainment venue pop up in Maryville's downtown.

Project principals say the building will ultimately house a restaurant, a virtual golf range, a bowling alley and a shuffleboard area.

Though several individuals with Johnson Architecture have presented at meetings — none were there Monday as detailed site plans were given to commissioners before the meeting — David A. Shanks is the official developer.

The property recently scored rezoning and became a Washington Street Commercial Corridor district an “urban (designation allowing) higher traffic volumes and it permits denser commercial development, pedestrian access and landscaping along the edges of property and streets,” according to planning notes.

In other action Monday, commissioners:

• Approved abandoning alleys off or near to Everett High Road, Lord Avenue and Middlesettlements Road between Springdale and Pinedale streets.

• Approved final plans for the Johnston property subdivision off North Houston Street and Landau Drive.

• Approved a development services request to an amend the subdivision regulations and extend a moratorium on integrally designed subdivisions.

Follow @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter for more from city government reporter Andrew Jones.

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