Loudon Utilities Board unanimously approved the base bid for demolition of the old Hutch Manufacturing site.

Out of nine bids, Michael Brady Inc., a subcontractor that has been involved in the demolition’s plans, specs and review of bids, concluded Complete Demolition Services LLC was the lowest bidder at $551,000, averaging $30 per cubic yard for the unit price of unsuitable soil and $13 per cubic yard for the unit price of engineered fill.

Board members Bart Watson and Carlie McEachern motioned and seconded, respectively, to move forward with the lowest bidder.

LUB and Loudon County Economic Development Agency are now able to enter into an agreement to start demolition.

“The next step is to actually enter into a contractual agreement with the company,” Jack Qualls, EDA executive director, said. “During that time frame, we’ll decide exactly when the company will begin their project.”

The contract allows a timeline of 180 days to demolish the old Hutch property and clean up the site. Although no set plans are in place for the site’s future developments, Ty Ross, LUB manager, said the Hutch property demolition will open a barrier that has prevented Loudon from being a true waterfront community.

“This is one of the most important overall economic development projects we’ve entered into in a number of years,” he said. “What it does is work as part of our strategic plan to redevelop our waterfront and make Loudon a waterfront community. Communities around the country and around the world would love to have an attractive waterfront, and we’re moving in that direction.”

Ross admits Loudon’s older, unused buildings prevent the town from reaching its full aesthetic potential.

“I think Loudon can fairly be described as a ‘Mayberry-esque’ town, but that Mayberry element is surrounded by distressed and dilapidated properties,” he said. “By removing … those distressed and dilapidated properties, it really opens things up for development. It puts a fresh, clean face on the town and positions us well for public and private redevelopment efforts in the future.”

Future developments aside, Qualls is focused on tackling the demolition.

“We just have a conceptual plan that we’re working on right now,” he said. “The big step for us is getting the building down. Most developers do not want to burden their cost with unknown factors whenever you have a building, especially an industrial building, that’s been sitting there for a while. Our first step is getting the building down, cleaning the slate, if you will, and come in behind and start building.”

Ross, Qualls and others involved in the process are eager for the waterfront’s makeover.

“We’re just excited to watch the progress over the next several months, and then we’re super excited to see what’s next,” Ross said.

Qualls assured LUB members demolition plans will be underway “soon.”