City inspector visited Cheeburger Cheeburger building before collapse
Channel 3 first reported there were problems with the building at 138 Market Street last month. City documents show an inspector discovered some issues in the upstairs portion of the building in April of 2016.
Channel 3 is learning new details about the history of a building that came crashing down onto Market Street in downtown Chattanooga on Wednesday afternoon.
The restaurant, Cheeburger Cheeburger, operates inside the building at 138 Market Street.
There were no customers at the restaurant when it collapsed. The owners of the business closed it just in time after noticing some of the bricks had shifted.
The owners, however, were at the restaurant and watched as the whole front of the building crumbled. Emergency crews say they are lucky to be alive.
Channel 3 first reported problems with that same building in February after complaints about a wedding venue abruptly shutting its doors.
The venue called “V on Market” was located upstairs.
The owner, Meredith Leastman, told Channel 3 she had to cancel all scheduled events because the space she leased had structural problems and needed to be repaired.
A city document shows an inspector visited the wedding venue in April 2016 and said work was being done without a permit and the ramp to the building was failing. It also said the property owner, George Walls, was notified by the fire marshal.
Channel 3 has learned a city inspector visited the property again last Friday and confirmed there were structural problems. City officials say the owner was given 15 days to fix the problems.
Documents at the Chattanooga Public Library show it’s one of the oldest buildings in the city.
The structure was built in 1876 by Clement Clay Shelton and it was a flour mill.
“He was very enterprising. He also had a saloon and he was quite a respected businessman,” said Mary Helms, who manages the library’s History and Genealogy Department.
Since the late 1800’s, Helms says the building has been home to many different businesses.
Documents show it was purchased by Walls in 1972 and he turned it into an auto dealership.
According to public records, the building was renovated in 1997.
Channel 3 has tried contacting Walls but has been unable to reach him. His son said he has no comment.