Delayed downtown demolition impacting businesses

Demolition of Cheeburger Cheeburger continued Thursday. (Image: WTVC)

It's been almost a month since Cheeburger Cheeburger collapsed in downtown Chattanooga.

Now, thanks to $120,000 in emergency funds by the Chattanooga City Council, the building is finally being torn down.

But, the owners of Cheeburger Cheeburger aren't the only ones feeling the economic impact of this collapse, and now demolition.

Next door, Chattanooga Ghost Tours had to relocate after the collapse, and it couldn't have happened at a worse time.

"Right before this happened, we were named one of two Tennessee's small business champions in the SCORE Sam's Club Small Business Contest," Chattanooga Ghost Tours owner Amy Petulla said.

Winning that $25,000 prize now appears an uphill battle.

"One of the categories for the prize is showing an increase in business, and obviously this hasn't been helpful with that," Petulla said.

Now, she says she could be out $3,000 because the city won't let her get her sign off the building.

"They said no you can't get it. We're gonna have our demolition folks, who are not exactly experienced in getting signs, they told me they've never had to do that before," Petulla said.

She's still waiting for an update.

"I've asked over and over for notice. Please tell me when you're going to be tearing the building down, when can I come get my sign. I've gotten no notice on this whole thing whatsoever," Petulla said.

So, how did she find out demolition had begun?

"I happened to be driving by yesterday and saw them tearing the building down, and that was the notice that I got," Petulla said.

The drawn-out demolition, combined with the closed sidewalk and construction barrel-filled roadway is keeping patrons away from neighboring businesses.

"I don't know. It's all messed up. When we came in here, we usually turn here or turn there, and it's a mess," Hamilton County resident Jaclyn Switzer said.

We reached out to the city attorney's office about whether they would be able to save the Chattanooga Ghost Tours sign, but have not yet heard back.

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