RFP for the purchase and restoration of the Wasson Car Works/Ross Meehan Building

Cornerstones Inc.
For the purchase and restoration of the
Wasson Car Works/Ross Meehan Building
1791 and 1795 Reggie White Blvd (next to First Tennessee Pavilion)
Tax parcel 145K E 001.03
Tax parcel 145K E 001.04
Building 62 x 144’ (8928 sf)
Deadline for Proposals:  Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cornerstones, Inc., Chattanooga’s historic preservation organization, requests proposals for the purchase and historic rehabilitation of its property and building known as the Wasson Car Works/Ross Meehan Building located immediately adjacent to First Tennessee Pavilion at 1791 Reggie White Blvd., between Main and 23rd Streets in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The site includes a small adjacent lot.


The Wasson Car Works/Ross Meehan Building is located within the city limits of Chattanooga, Tennessee, across the street from Finley Stadium and adjacent to the First Tennessee Pavilion, both of which are major regional event venues and owned by the City of Chattanooga/Hamilton County government.  They are donating the property to Cornerstones, Inc. to oversee the historic restoration of the building.  

The surrounding district is currently undergoing much redevelopment and revitalization, with nearly 700 units of new multi-family housing currently under construction within a three-block radius. 


Building Description:  This foundry building is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Chattanooga, probably built around 1875 by the Wasson Car Works.  The brick, one-story building has a gable roof that is supported by wooden 12” x 12” trusses, 62 feet wide with a continuous, single-piece bottom chord.  There is one interior partition wall.  The floor is concrete.  Some of the original window openings have been modified or bricked up.  There is one brick partition wall inside the building.  The building’s footprint is approximately 144 feet by 62 feet, 8928 square feet.  

Building HistoryThis foundry building was built by the Wasson Car Works, a manufacturing company that built railway cars in Chattanooga from 1873-1885. The Wasson Car Works employed 250 workers (one of Chattanooga’s largest companies) and could manufacture 8 freight cars and 64 car wheels per day.  Wasson made the open trolley cars for the first Incline to Point Park. The 1885 Sanborn map shows the footprint of this building.  The site was purchased by the Ross Meehan Foundry in 1889, and operated continuously until 1986.  

Building Condition:  The building is damaged and in immediate need of stabilization.  The roof on the west end of the building has lost shingles and decking, and thus three (3) trusses have collapsed.  The walls and remaining trusses are in salvageable shape.  On behalf of Cornerstones, Inc., Bennett and Pless has provided a structural engineering report that addresses the short-term stabilization needs.  The report is attached.       

Zoning:  The property is currently zoned as a “civic use” under the Form Based Code because it is currently part of the Finley Stadium/First Tennessee Pavilion complex.   Any rezoning shall be the responsibility of the new owner.

Environmental:  Neither the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County government, nor Cornerstones. Inc. offers any environmental warranties.  Any additional environmental testing shall be at the expense of the new owner.   

Storm Water Management:  It shall be the responsibility of the proposer and/or the purchaser/ developer to ascertain the requirements for City regulations relative to storm water management issues for any proposed development of the building.

Additional Parking:  Any additional parking outside the footprints of the two parcels must be negotiated with the Finley Stadium Corporation and is the responsibility of the new owner. 


The property shall be sold in an “as is” condition.  It shall be the responsibility of the proposer and/or purchaser/ developer to determine the condition of the building, and the suitability of the property for any proposed new development prior to the sale.  

A boundary survey shall be the responsibility of the proposer and /or purchaser/ developer to be obtained at their cost.

Any alterations or additions to the historic property must conform to the “Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Historic Buildings” as well as more specific design guidelines as may be required by the Department of the Interior, the Tennessee Historical Commission, the City of Chattanooga or Hamilton County.

Federal historic tax credits may be available for this building.  Certain types of the credits may require the completion of the National Park Services application – which should be done prior to the start of construction.  Cornerstones, Inc. will provide technical assistance if needed.

Any redevelopment of the property must conform to all building and zoning requirement and/or ordinances.  Cornerstones must be included in the design review process. 

Stabilization of the building, including removal and repair of the collapsed trusses, must begin immediately and be completed within 30 days.  

Restoration must begin within three (3) months of the date of closing on this property and completed within one (1) year of the date of closing. Cornerstones must be included in the

THE PROPOSAL (Deadline Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at 4 p.m.):

The proposal should be in the form of a Letter of Intent to Cornerstones, Inc. and should reflect the following:

  1. List experience in restoring historic structures.
  2. Describe the proposed renovations in detail and provide elevations.
  3. The completed project will seek a certified historic rehabilitation following the Secretary of Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation Historic Buildings.
  4. Commit to the timelines for stabilization and restoration outlined in this RFP.
  5. Propose a compatible use to the neighborhood surrounding the property that enhances the character and livability of the surrounding neighborhood.
  6. Offer a purchase price.  If Cornerstones, Inc. receives several equally qualified proposals, the purchase price will become the tie breaker. 
  7. Demolition of existing structure is not allowed.  If for whatever reason, the purchaser cannot complete the renovation project within the specified time, the property could revert to Cornerstones.  

Proposals and offers to purchase must be received in the office of Cornerstones, Inc., 736 Georgia Avenue, Suite 106, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402 by Thursday, Aug. 31 at 4:00 PM EDT.


Members of the Cornerstones Board of Directors and The Chattanooga Design Studio shall judge the proposals, select, and approve all exterior design plans.

Evaluations of the proposals and recommendation for selecting the proposal will be based on the criteria listed below in order of importance:

  1. Project Quality and Use
  2. Overall desirability, preservation of the historic integrity, compatibility of the proposed project as it relates to surrounding development, proposed and existing.
  3. Active use of the historic property, such as commercial, neighborhood retail, to complement and shore up the revitalization of the Southside.
  4. Qualifications and Ability of the Applicant.
  5. Price.

The proposer and/or purchaser/ developer shall hold harmless Cornerstones, Inc. for any loss or damage to the property arising from the process of conducting such engineering tests, surveys, inspections soil borings and will be required to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement.

Cornerstones, Inc. must be listed as additional insured on any necessary liability policies.  Coverage must be evidence with a signed certificate of insurance and be placed with an insurer rated B+10 or better by A.M. Best’s Rating Guide.  In addition, coverage may not be canceled without at least a 30-day written notice.

Under no circumstances does Cornerstones, Inc. certify or attest to the accuracy or validity of any document or report provided to the proposer and/or purchaser/ developer, but does certify that each such document or report will be the same completed form as received by Cornerstones, Inc.


Tours of the historic building and property can be arranged by calling the Cornerstones office at 423-265-2825.


A real estate purchase agreement, with specific terms, will be negotiated with the purchaser/ developer selected.


Cornerstones, Inc will not pay a commission.  


Cornerstones, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation chartered to preserve and restore historic buildings and places in the greater Chattanooga area.  All dimensions and numerical values are taken from sources deemed reliable but no warranty or representation is made as to the accuracy thereof.  Cornerstones, Inc. reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, and to negotiate with any or all of the proposers or with others for the work to be done.  This request does not represent a commitment or offer by Cornerstones, Inc. to enter into any agreement with a proposed developer and Cornerstones, Inc. to enter into any agreement with a proposed developer and Cornerstones, Inc. retains the right in its sole discretion to reject any or all proposals.

All proposals will be submitted at the proposer’s own cost and expense.  Cornerstones, Inc. will have no financial obligation relative to the submission of any proposal.


Questions relative to this Request for Proposals should be addressed to Ann Myers Gray at Cornerstones, Inc., at the above address or 423-265-2825. 


1791 and 1795 ReggieWhiteBlvd.pdf
Ross Mehan Bldg Structural Assessment 5-26-17.pdf


Amanda Carmichael