City will get Tower land for convention center

Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 3:28pm

A judge excluded a key landowner’s two defenses to condemnation for the downtown convention center last week, but the case is likely far from over.

In an order filed this week, Circuit Court Judge Barbara Haynes ruled Tower Investments, owner of 5.66 acres in the footprint of the proposed Music City Center, could not use a defense arguing its property is not blighted, nor that the real-estate company has an alternative use for its land just south of the Sommet Center. The ruling effectively quashes the company’s entire defense and gives possession of the property — now a parking lot — to the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency.

The condemnation trial was set for Friday. Now all that’s left is a determination of value. Tower was offered $14.8 million for its tract — the largest in the MCC footprint — which is just a shade more than the $14.7 million the company paid for it.

Tower attorney Joe Conner said the company has the right to move on to the Tennessee Court of Appeals once the proceedings are complete at the circuit court level.

The final two condemnation hearings — for MDHA’s eminent domain claims against Christies’ Cabaret and the Musician’s Hall of Fame — are still pending.

8 Comments on this post:

By: nvestnbna on 2/5/10 at 9:55

Tower was offered $14.8 million for its tract — the largest in the MCC footprint — which is just a shade more than the $14.7 million the company paid for it.

"paid for it ..... three years ago." I spoke with one of the appraisers working for the city last night and they were frankly dismayed at the city's actions on this. They cited numerous comps for parking lots and land around this project in the $80/sf+ range. And the city offers Tower $63/sf. They felt this was a deliberate attempt to pick a fight with Tower, I would just describe it as the latest example of the city's lack of good faith in dealing with property owners. Everyone knows, or should this is the most valuable land in the project site area. To give Rocketown on the city's described backside of the project $160+/sf just adds more credibility to this unfair / disingenuous offer.

By: concernedtaxpayer on 2/5/10 at 10:52

Tower will show up getting what they want because Metro will pay what they want and if it is high dollar they will keep the dollar amount private to taxpayers though. I could care less about Tower though. Their corporate office is not even in Tennessee. It is in California. So in other words. They can take the money they get off the property and go put the money in property elsewhere, preferably out of this state.

By: producer2 on 2/5/10 at 11:20

By law they have to give them fair market value. The fact that the market has declined is not Metros fault. Maybe if Tower negotiated differently they would have seen more dollars.

By: nvestnbna on 2/5/10 at 3:56

By: producer2 on 2/5/10 at 10:20By law they have to give them fair market value.

So, why would they lowball them other that just to jerk them around? They are paying more all around the project, but the city's heralded 100% corner, it's worth less, a lot less. I agree with the city's contract appraiser - someone at the city was trying to pick a fight.

By: Magnum on 2/5/10 at 5:42

No doubt nvestnbna. Those idiots would rather spend a fortune of our money in the courts to fight the lawsuits (which I'm sure won't get included in the cost of the convention center). Another example of how the need for power supercedes intelligent business sense when put into the hands of politicians and their delegates.

And I don't agree with the defense that the market is depressed. The value of my home is also depressed, but its not for sale; therfore, I don't have to take a beating on it. Same goes for Tower. They aren't selling the property. It is being taken. In this case, I think some show of goodwill would be appropriate.

And finally, who cares if their home office is in California. I could care less. It could be in Nigeria for all I care. The moment you start allowing politicians to over step their boundaries, you have opened a door that can never be closed again. This door has already been opened and they are flexing the same muscle again.

By: Textron22 on 2/8/10 at 10:52

Eminent Domain is a dangerous power to allow governmental agencies to enforce. MDHA has a history of using E D in an indescriminate and totally unfair manner. Research the history Nashville's MDHA and you wil find that SO many hard working families have had their properties stolen from them by this 3000 pound gorilla known as MDHA. I am surprised that with the reversal of the New England eminent domain decison by the Supreme Court that Municilpalities are still able to just hammer people in to submission. Those of you who own commercial (even residential) properties will understand these sentiments, those of you who do not will have a hard time relating. Reflect on this: Government wants your home, they tell you what they are going to give you for it, AND YOU'VE GOT NO RECOURSE, YOU'VE GOT TO FIND SOME OTHER PLACE TO LIVE. Beats the hell out of me how it is able to continue.

By: tnobserver on 2/9/10 at 11:02

Textron22: " I am surprised that with the reversal of the New England eminent domain decison by the Supreme Court that Municilpalities are still able to just hammer people in to submission"

Um, Textron, maybe before you take it upon yourself to post your opinions about things, you should try and know what your talking about. In the case you are referring to (Kelo v. City of New London), the Supreme Court AFFIRMED the decision of the CT Supreme Court.

Eminent domain isn't some crazy new inveniton--it's been in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of TN since those existed. How do you think we build roads? Schools? Bridges? What kind of crazy world do you want to live in where the community can't build a road?

By: 742180 on 2/10/10 at 10:12

tnobserver.. Chances are you own no property of value to anyone but yourself. Or you are on the govenment tit in someway.

Just because ED has been around for years doesn't make it anymore palatable. Textrons primise is correct, it has been enacted through out the nation in an indescriminate and unfair method for YEARS.

Eminent Domain has certainly been instumental in the development of needed infrastructure. Yet the inconsistencies in valuation of property commandered are well documented. It, ED, may be necessary, but for those who have lost their property, or who own property that big brother might someday want, it is an undefendable, overused, and one sided power enforece by a group of career government employees that could care less who they hurt. Let me set a price for YOUR house and MAKE you sell it to me. Deal?

PS- I don't work for Tower or any one else connected with this most recent Eminent Domain situation. But,I DO own commercial properties which government has eyed and the threat is ever present that they might decide they WANT my property.

PSS- Feel free to critique my spelling.