Nashville Sues to Seize Convention Center Land

New Nashville Convention Center Location

Thanks to the Tennessean for breaking the story about the metro Nashville eminent domain filings. On October 20th, 2009 in the article entitled Nashville files suit to seize 7 properties for convention center Michael Cass writes:

“Metro government officials have taken the first steps toward seizing downtown property for a proposed convention center.

The Metro Development and Housing Agency (MDHA)  filed condemnation suits against seven groups of property owners in Davidson County Circuit Court on Friday. The agency said in the petitions that it had deposited more than $31.2 million to pay what it considers “just compensation” to acquire the properties by eminent domain.

The county property assessor’s office appraised the properties for more than $24.3 million collectively this year.

Metro is considering building a 1.2 million-square-foot, $600 million convention center on about 15 acres south of Sommet Center and First Baptist Church. Mayor Karl Dean and the Metro Council decided last summer to borrow about $62 million to start acquiring property, even though financing plans for the center and an attached hotel are still coming together.

Joe Cain, MDHA’s development director, said last week that the agency would continue negotiating with property owners even after starting eminent domain proceedings. Cain said the lawsuits were necessary to ensure that the city has the property in hand by January.

MDHA has already reached agreements with seven other property owners.”

The Properties – $31.2M would acquire downtown land

In its court filings, the agency said it was willing to pay:

• $2,835,000 for Christie’s Cabaret, which was appraised for more than $2.33 million.

• $14.8 million for a 5.66-acre site owned by Tower Music City II LLC, part of Tower Investments. The site was appraised for $12,550,600 (parcel for the hotel portion of the convention center).

• $4.8 million for the Musicians’ Hall of Fame, which was appraised for a little more than $3 million.

• $1,774,300 to Nashville Downtown Platinum LLC for two parcels appraised for $1,157,300.

• $905,000 to Hugh Cates, A.M. Downing, Richard Downing, Donna C. Downing and Lamar Advertising for a site appraised for $637,100.

• $4,906,500 for the Greyhound bus station, which was appraised for $3,775,500.

• $1.25 million to Billy D. and Beverly G. Pitt for a parcel appraised for $926,400.

Councilman Jim Gotto has proposed a Metro Charter amendment that would give the council the right to approve or reject any use of eminent domain.

The council previously delegated that authority to MDHA by setting up redevelopment districts in areas that are considered blighted.”

It is also now rumored that the Medical Trade Center or “Medical Mart” will also receive final city approval within the next 45 days. The medical trade center could potentially take over the current convention center building located on Broadway. In the mean time, it is rumored that the medical trade center will attempt to lease the vacated Nissan space in the AT&T Building or the vacant space in the brand new 30-story Pinnacle office tower on 3rd Avenue South.

I am also struck by the offers MDHA has made and how much higher than appraised value they are.