If Metro Council approves legislation filed by Mayor Karl Dean’s administration last week, then the Metro Development and Housing Agency, armed with condemnation powers, will begin buying property in the SoBro area this summer to make room for the proposed new Convention Center.
MDHA Director Phil Ryan laid out at Monday’s special meeting in front of Council an aggressive timeline where the property acquisition phase of the Music City Center project would be complete this summer with building demolition to begin in the fall.
MDHA has the right to condemn property in order to move forward with the project, but Ryan said there has not been any indication from property owners in the center’s imprint that there would be resistance on land acquisition.
As it turns out, MDHA owned several parcels of land in the 1990s and sold them to private developers, some of whom have already turned a sizable profit on flipping the deal.
In 1995, MDHA bought the property at 301 Fifth Avenue S. and sold it a year later to Arena Properties, LLC for $4 million.
That property was sold to Tower Investments for $14.7 million and now that property will need to be bought back by MDHA in order to build Music City Center.
District 6 Councilman Mike Jameson said there are other previously MDHA-owned properties in the footprint and asked Ryan to provide a list this week. Jameson estimated that MDHA would have to spend significantly more than $14.7 in order to re-acquire the land.
He also worried that the property values would grossly depreciate if Council ultimately didn’t approve the financing for the new Convention Center and was forced to find another use for the land.
During Monday’s special meeting in front of Council, Finance Director Richard Riebeling said $55 million has been appropriated for land acquisition.
Also included in the footprint is the Greyhound Bus Station, which has already begun looking for a new home. The bus station had a site picked out on Murfreesboro Road, but that request was defeated by the Board of Zoning Appeals.