Thursday, June 13, 2013

Historic Preservation Benefits Communities

Rick Dover Knoxville
The history of a community contributes to its personality. Preserving the history of a place through its historic properties gives a community its unique character, says Rick Dover of Knoxville. As general manager of Family Pride Corporation, Rick Dover, Knoxville, believes that historic preservation provides a link to the roots of the community and its people. Rick Dover, Knoxville, restores and preserves historic buildings. These days, the sight of Rick Dover, Knoxville, is set on the Alexander Inn, a historic building in Oak Ridge, Tenn., included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Q: Thanks for coming out today, Rick Dover. 

Rick Dover, Knoxville: It’s truly my pleasure.

Q: How long have you been restoring historic buildings? 

Rick Dover, Knoxville: Family Pride Corporation has been going strong for two decades.

Q: Why this particular building, the Alexander Inn? 

Rick Dover, Knoxville: We like old buildings. A building like the Alexander Inn is an icon and an important landmark in the community. We seek long-term ownership opportunities for former landmarks that have fallen into disuse.

Q: What’s the history of this building?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: The Alexander Inn was built during World War II, and several wartime luminaries stayed there, including Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, and Gen. Leslie Groves, who oversaw the Manhattan Project to build the first bomb.

Q: What are your plans for the building?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: We want to convert it into a 60-unit assisted living community for the elderly and those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Q: You have converted other buildings into assisted living centers. Tell us about those. 

Rick Dover, Knoxville: We’ve converted two former county hospitals into assisted living centers along with a former Lenoir City school. In North Knoxville we are converting a 1914 former elementary school into a similar facility.

Q: So the buildings you restore don’t stay vacant? 

Rick Dover, Knoxville: The buildings we restore must have a viable use. Assisted living facilities are ideal uses for historic hotels, schools and hospitals. In fact, the Alexander Inn is laid out perfectly for assisted living.

Q: What is the financial aspect of this project?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: Because of the huge costs of restoring that building, it only became feasible through a $500,000 Department of Energy grant that will pay off the mortgage and begin stabilizing the structure. In addition, Family Pride would require a 90 percent property-tax break on the restored inn to make the project viable.

Q: Can you share how much Family Pride Corporation is investing?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: Family Pride will invest more than $4.7 million into building and rehabilitation.

Q: Is the property currently useful to the community?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: The property is currently generating very little in property taxes for the community and is negatively affecting the surrounding property values.

Q: In what ways will this project benefit the community?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: This project will provide employment for people in construction and tourism. Overall, historic preservation adds to the quality of life, which makes for a more livable community.

Q: Does the community experience increased property values from restored historic buildings?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: Absolutely. A community benefits from increased property values and tax revenues when historic buildings are protected and made the focal point of revitalization.

Q: What about the environmental benefit?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: Environmentally, a community benefits when historic buildings are restored and rehabilitated rather than demolished and disposed of in the community landfill.

Q: So the community can only benefit?

Rick Dover, Knoxville: Yes. The PILOT doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything, and in the long term the community will reap the benefits of its delayed gratification.

Rick Dover of Knoxville adds that a community benefits educationally through teaching local heritage and increasing understanding of the past. Rick Dover of Knoxville resides in Tennessee.

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