Plans are underway to tear down Midway Motel
By Kim Swindell Wood | April 11, 2019 1:26 pm
By Rachel Auberger
The Midway Motel, which has stood in the middle of Sparta since 1952, may be torn down this summer.
The old hotel, which was originally built by Thurman and Robert E. Allen, in 1952, and later bought at auction by Gus Parrish, Tom Ward, Ben Holland, and James Earl McKee, has seen better days. In its early years, it sat on Highway 1 and had many guests stay in its 20 guest rooms as they traveled between Memphis and Bristol or even between Nashville and Knoxville, but with the completion of the interstate years ago, guests became fewer and fewer over the years.
The Patels, who bought the motel, in 1999, from Ernest and Zora Thompson, feel the time has come to say goodbye to the old buildings and bring in something that will be both used as well as add to the beauty of Sparta.
Kantilal Patel, the current owner, and his daughter, Tulsi Patel, have begun taking the steps needed to secure permits to update the property located at 417 W. Bockman Way. Plans include tearing down the old hotel and building townhouses on the property.
“We just feel that brand new townhouses would be better than trying to repair the old structures,” Tulsi Patel said.
Tulsi Patel said the plans include both two-story townhouses as well as single-floor units, and there would be both two-bedroom and three-bedroom options. She also said each townhouse would come with its own small yard.
“Something small – about 10 feet,” she said. “Just big enough to sit outside, maybe have a few plants, a flower garden.”
The Patels feel that turning the property into townhouses would improve the look and functionality of the property. Additionally, according to Tulsi Patel, today’s societies are becoming more mobile and trying to be both health conscious as well as ecologically minded.
“People are moving into towns where they can be closer to things where they can walk to the store or to get something to eat – maybe even walk to work,” Tulsi Patel said. “We think the townhouses would be welcome for people who want to live where they can walk places.”
Mike O’Neal, codes officer for the City of Sparta, said the Patels have been going through the process of getting all the paperwork done and are really very thorough in knowing what steps they need to take to complete their project. He said they have filed papers for re-zoning of a house that sits on the property and are working to get a third-party asbestos inspection completed as required by the state. They have submitted plans for the new structures to be reviewed by all of the appropriate utility departments as well as the planning board.
“Once they have the inspection done, they can apply for a demolition permit,” O’Neal said. “During demolition, everything will be taken to the landfill. Nothing will be buried.”
According to Tulsi Patel, she and her father have a meeting with the city, on May 9, to discuss getting a Use on Appeal permit that would allow them to have residential properties in a commercial district.
“We hope to have everything done and be able to start the demolition of the old buildings sometime in June,” Tulsi Patel said.
According to Tulsi Patel, they feel that their plans to update the property will add to the many improvements that the city of Sparta has seen recently.