One parcel Metro bought and sold has to be bought back

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:15am

Regardless of how smoothly the Music City Center land acquisition process goes for the bulk of the 16 acres, Metro will have to eat a slice of humble pie when it buys back one parcel.

In 1995, Metro Development and Housing Agency bought the property at 301 Fifth Avenue South 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 owned MDHA properties in the footprint and asked MDHA Director Phil Ryan to provide a list last month. Jameson estimated that the agency would have to spend significantly more than $14.7 in order to re-acquire the land.

He also worried that the property values would plummet if Council ultimately didn’t approve the financing for the new convention center and was forced to find another use for the land.

“We could own land that is depreciating in value because we aren’t using it for what we originally thought,” Jameson said.


8 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 5/26/09 at 4:56

Can you say land swindle boys and girls.

That is why they want to put the cart before the horse.

By: JeffF on 5/26/09 at 6:46

Shhh, it it too early to talk about the "it's too late to turn back now". Haven't you read the playbook? You can't use that until after the land is bought AND the center proponents spring out the "revenue backed' general obligation bonds. Shhhh

By: Kosh III on 5/26/09 at 7:59

It is too late. They decided years ago to do this thing, now it's just making sure the forms are being observed.

By: Time for Truth on 5/26/09 at 8:45

This will go down in history as a massive municipal blunder if it moves forward. The can of worms is just cracked open at this point. Wait until it's opened all the way.

Kosh, years ago the 'visionaries' may have had an excuse to plan this. Now when it is obvious that a dying industry is overbuilt, there is no reason to proceed.

By: pandabear on 5/26/09 at 9:51

Jeff's right.
We should be more considerate of the thieves and robbers.
After all, they've been considerate enough to start putting
some of it in print, under the label "We goofed", and this sounds
so much more "human" and nice than:

"Step right up to the swindle booth, doo dah (beat) doo dah".

By: JeffF on 5/26/09 at 9:59

This will never be a municipal blunder because the industry is setup to never fail, just ask for more stuff. You have already seen instances where I pointed out ongoing failures and they are explained away. You can point out that convention attendance is less than it was before new construction and it is ignored. In fact, they use that as a reason for further expansion. Frequently the game plan in other cities is to blame poor performance of a new convention palace on the lack of an equally expensive "convention center headquarters hotel". So the PR machine (taxpayer funded of course) cranks up and a half-billion dollar investment is worthless without a further half-billion dollar investment.

Think about it, would Nashville leaders approve of the current convention facility if they were told at the time that they would HAVE to throw it away as soon as it is paid for. We are told we have to do this or risk losing all our investment in the industry? (Why are as a government investing in an industry to begin with). Apparently investing is something that has to be perpetually done in this game since new money is necessary to keep things going. In the private world having to continually "invest" new capital into a concern is the definition of a "loser". Eventually businesses are expected to reach a point where the returns pay for their operations. If they do not then they close.

The convention industry in Nashville is a business that requires the perpetual influx of unrelated capital money to keep running. It absconds with money from taxpayers (resident and nonresident) that do not use its services. The money then appears as income on its books even though it is not operational in basis or fact. The current center did not pay for itself, tourists and local taxpayers paid for it. This center will not pay for itself, the same tourists, and even more taxpayer money will keep its bloated corpse of a body afloat as well.

Nashville needs to make a choice, either invest in industries that will one day be able to actually run on its own with no further "investment" or spend money on the services government is morally required to deliver without a return. The continual playing in this meetings business with zero likelihood of ever breaking-even let alone profit is foolish.

Government services that serve and help constituents do not require high-priced PR firms to tell everyone how great they are to the press, public, and elected officials.

By: shinestx on 5/26/09 at 10:43

We have the 3 Stooges running this city (mayor, Metro Council, and MDHA)!! How on earth could the sale of this property be justified/authorized at any time in the last fifteen years? Was there to be somethign built on it? If so, where is it?

I remember when the Gateway Blvd plan was revealed in fall 1994 (15 years ago!!), and Metro said they planned to buy the property around it to have control over future development --- there's your land swindle. Well Duh!! I don't see any development around Gateway, what is now called Korea War Vets Blvd., and that road still is not complete! I lived in Dallas, TX for eight years in the late 90s/early 00s... and that city built a completely new neighborhood (called Victory) with three large streets like Korea War Vets Blvd.. COMPLETED THESE STREETS in half the time!!! Helps you see how backward this town really is, doesn't it?

By: govskeptic on 5/26/09 at 11:10

I wonder how many of these parcel owners helped fund the PR campaign and purchasing the breverges and snacks for the downtown cheerleading crowds that
showed up prior to any council decisions. Of course, taxpayer money also went into the same funds that help feed the monkeys. What a farce the whole procedure has been.