Bruce McCarty Community Impact Award Recipient- Thomas N. McAdams, Esq.
Congratulations to one of Bernstein, Stair & McAdams, LLP founding members, Tom McAdams, for receiving the Bruce McCarty Community Impact Award on August 11, 2021. The Bruce McCarty Community Impact Award is granted to those who have demonstrated a commitment to building a better future for the region. It is presented by the East Tennessee Community Design Center with the goal of celebrating and perpetuating both the quality of life in East Tennessee and the qualities of leadership of Bruce McCarty.
Tom McAdams grew up in West Tennessee, where he overcame an early infatuation with Greek Revival architecture and went on to lead a normal life. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law and practiced law in Knoxville for over forty years with Bernstein, Stair & McAdams LLP, focusing on business matters and real estate development.
In an early redevelopment project in downtown Knoxville, he helped a local business develop a four-story postmodern neo-Georgian office building and is utilized as the Howard H. Baker, Jr., United States Courthouse. He served as special construction counsel for the Public Building Authority in connection with the design, development, and construction of the new convention center and downtown garages and the redevelopment of World’s Fair Park, including serving as a presenter and program manager for the related urban planning charrette conducted by the Urban Land Institute. He was also actively involved in efforts to save the Miller’s Building on Gay Street. In recent years, he represented clients in redevelopment activities in the Old City, including the acquisition of land for the new stadium.
Tom was general counsel of The Development Corporation of Knox County and worked closely with TDC staff and architects, engineers, and land planners on the creation and expansion of several business parks in the Knoxville area, and he represented the Knoxville Chamber regarding zoning and land planning matters. He was a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and participated in the review and approval of the design of the new terminal, including the use of natural building elements, interior landscapes, and water features.
He has been actively involved in local preservation efforts for historical buildings, including the Italianate J. Allen Smith residence, the Regency-style Eugenia Williams residence, and the Beaux-Arts Candoro Marble Company office building. He and his wife, Melissa, lived for many years at Craiglen, designed by Charles Barber in a fifteenth-century Italian farmhouse and considered by many to be the “crown jewel” of Barber’s career, and spent many years restoring the house and gardens. He served as general counsel of Knox Heritage for many years and participated in numerous preservation and adaptive reuse projects.
For twenty-five years, he has served on the Board of Directors of Lakeshore Park Conservancy and has served as the board representative and project manager for the expansion and development of the 185-acre general recreation park. During that period, he has worked with architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other professionals on creating and updating the park’s master plan and design construction of many of the park’s improvements. For much of that period, he was also the janitor.