Lobbyists line up on both sides of Bells Bend proposal

Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 2:41am

Property owners on Bells Bend opposed to a proposed $4 billion development there have hired former Deputy Gov. Dave Cooley to help fend off the project.

Cooley is part of an A-list of lobbyists and public relations consultants opponents of May Town Center have hired.

In addition to Cooley, the group consists of Jane Alvis, a former Purcell administration official; Bo Johnson, a long-time lobbyist whose client list has included Nissan, First Tennessee and McDonald’s Corp. and Keel Hunt, who has worked with the Ingrams and their company for years.

Cooley had been deputy mayor when Bredesen was mayor of Nashville. During his tenure, Bells Bend had been the location for a proposed landfill, a major battle at the time. He said a strategy for opposing the development is being created now.

“I think it will be a good discussion on where the city needs to go,” he said.

Nashville’s May family, which has a large real estate portfolio here, has proposed a high-density mixed-use development on 423 acres of the Bells Bend property while preserving 900 acres for green space. A key element is a bridge over the Cumberland River connecting with Interstate 40.

There are neighbors in the area who don’t want to the development and would prefer keeping the area as is.

The Mays formed their own team, hiring developer Tony Giarratana as a consultant along with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis attorneys and lobbyists James Weaver and Tom Jurkovich and Seigenthaler Public Relations.

“In May Town Center, our aim is to provide needed economic development for Davidson County, while preserving vast areas of green space and recreational opportunity,” said Jurkovich, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development under Purcell.

“Surely we can do both, and to suggest otherwise underestimates what we can accomplish as a community,” Jurkovich said.

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By: Nashville Voter on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I wonder who is really cheering this morning about Cooley and his gang of lobbyist being paid by the rich folks who live in Bells Bend? How about the rich folks who own and control Cool Springs and who want to keep the economic development, jobs, shopping, money (and taxes) flowing to Williamson Co. Sort of a band of brothers mix of 25 "not in my back yard" rich folks with 25 "keep it coming my way because we love it down here in Franklin rich folks". I think there are a lot more folks in Nashville who wonder if we should keep watching as millions am
d millions in potential tax dollars land in Nashville at the airport and then drive to Franklin. I am sure Mr. Cooley will tell the Council why that is good thing???? That should be interesting.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Bells Bend is still 25 years away from maximum financial potential....In the meantime it is a better "hold" than anything on Wall Street.

By: RIchardLawson on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Some of the lobbyists are pro bono, so use hired loosely

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 7:00

This is being sold by the developers as 'new urbanism', a term that developers like to use when they want to build densely for maximum profit. A look at this drawing alone shows this is no Seaside, FL, more like Hickory Hollow Parkway.It is unrealistic to expect this area will never be developed, but it should be done right and the blank canvas that is that area makes that possible. Additionally, this is a good time to look at the truth that development is almost always a loser for the existing tax base and property tax payers. The developers probably expect the tax payers to bear the burden of building the new bridge. What will be limited sales tax revenues is a lure, the recurring social costs (schools, fire, police) that will burden the taxpayers offset that. The developers should pay for the bridge.

By: PeteMcPherson on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Mistake on the Lake part II, folks. This is another metro center disaster in the planning.