Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Antioch's Gran Dale Mansion to get makeover

By Juanita Cousins • THE TENNESSEAN • October 12, 2010 An antebellum house that has hovered between icon and eyesore could soon become a hub for the Antioch community. Former Mt. Juliet Mayor David Waynick bought the Gran Dale Mansion in June with plans to move his Donelson law office to its second floor and create a community facility on the ground floor. Construction began in August with Waynick recruiting his father and son to tear down rotting wood and scare snakes away. Pending Metro Planning Commission rezoning, he plans to open in December. “I hope it will be an asset,” he said. “I’ve received a lot of calls from people who are appreciative. It’s nice to have that kind of response.” The house dates to an era before Nashboro Village was first built in the 19th century. During the Civil War, it was a hospital for the Union forces. Confederate spies were hanged on its lawn. The Dale family bought it in 1930, adding two side wings. In recent years, the 15-room home has remained vacant and was a source of tension between residents and development. A developer petitioned Metro to demolish the historic home and replace it with a Kroger grocery store and asphalt parking lot in 1996. Residents objected. Eventually, the developer and grocery store won a rezoning case and the home was moved to an adjoining seven-acre tract. With plans to turn the historic home into a bed and breakfast, wedding chapel or restaurant, resident Bob Amity won the Gran Dale from a pool of several people who submitted proposals. After banks denied him a second loan, the mansion faded from memory. “It was something the community members were really concerned about,” said Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite. She took turns doing neighborhood watch duties to keep squatters and vandals away. “The difference that Mr. Waynick’s renovation makes is that it gives another sense of community,” Wilhoite said. “His vision is broad but centered around the community. Everyone is elated because what happens on that property bleeds over into our residential properties.” Waynick is working with the Metro Historical Commission to preserve the mansion’s integrity. He has preserved its original wood mantel and will keep its 15 rooms in the same layout. “I am a big believer that properties like that should be shared with the public as much as possible,” Waynick said. Reach Juanita Cousins at 615-259-8287, jcousins@tennessean.com or Twitter.com/talljournalist.

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