Community meeting focuses on Starwood development project

Same Coleman, District 33

Sam Coleman, District 33

A proposed development in the former location of the Starwood Amphitheater met with a mixture of optimism and concern at a community meeting Thursday night. The meeting was facilitated by Sam Coleman, District 33 councilman.

Developer Ron Buck, who was on hand to have a discussion with about 60 community members who attended the meeting, purchased the property earlier this year for $2.1 million.

His plan includes a mix of townhomes, assisted living, office space, and a four-acre park.

The meeting concerned some specific requests to modify an existing plan approved in 2008.

The requests include:

  • Waving or altering a pre-building requirement that 80 percent of the infrastructure be in in place.
  • Allow a shift to more office space and less retail space.
  • Allow a maximum building height of five stories, an increase from the current plan three stories.
  • Add 400 more housing units, bringing the total to 650.

According to Kathyrn Withers of Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon Inc., the engineer firm hired to assist with the project, the housing mix includes 200 townhouses, 150 senior adult housing units, 100 units in an assisted living facility, and some 200 flats over retail establishments.

The new plan also includes 276,500 square feet of office space, 120,000 square feet of

Starwood Project

Mary Varva of Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon Inc., shows an example of what the park will look like.

retail, and 25,000 square feet for restaurants, which Withers said would house four eateries.

Bill Lockwood, also with the engineering firm, said the change to more office instead of retail, lowers the estimated traffic volume by 22 percent. In 2008, the estimate was 22,528 monthly trips and now the count is estimated to be 18,976 trips.

He said there will be bike lanes, grass strips and sidewalks, adding that walkability and internal connections for pedestrians will be an important aspect of the development.

He added that traffic improvements include work on Murfreesboro Pike and a five-lane section on Hobson Pike.

“We will work to have improvements on our side,” Lockwood told the audience. “We will also look at how the plan impacts school operations.”

Buck said he believes there is a niche of a mix of office space.

Starwood Project

Developer Ron Buck discusses the Starwood project with the community.

“We’re talking about things like a bank needing a data processing center,” he said. “They don’t need to be downtown at $30 per square foot, but would locate here at $20 per square foot.”

He also said the property could be allowed 20 units per acre, but is currently zoned for three per acre. He is asking for 10 units.

“Think about a walkable community where you can walk to a restaurant, a barber shop, or ice cream,” Buck said.

There was pushback to the idea.

Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell expressed significant concern about more development.

She said that Antioch High School currently has 2,300 students and that Cane

District 32 Council Member Jacobia Dowell.

Ridge High School was at 114 percent of capacity and Cane Ridge Elementary was at 105 percent of capacity.

She cited a list of more than 4,000 residential units currently under construction or in the late stages of planning – all within a mile or so of this development.

“Six-hundred-fifty units do not equal 650 people,” she said, and pointed to a 350 unit apartment complex that has more than 2,000 people living in it.

There were also multiple citizens who expressed that they liked the idea and demonstrated their support for the development.

Buck told the audience the 80 percent commitment would be a deal killer as it would create too much expense that would need to be passed along to potential tenants, ruining their capability to attract businesses to the property.

The 80 percent commitment was put in place in 2008 by Councilman Sam Coleman and

Starwood

This map shows the location of the Starwood project relative to area schools, parks, and roads.

others as a protective measure for the city. Coleman indicated confidence that he could sit down with planning and working on the restriction. The audience seemed favorable to lifting or altering the restriction.

Several citizens spoke expressing concerns about traffic, and stating Antioch’s been promised many things in the past that never delivered. That the developer somehow demonstrate the ability to complete the project seemed of paramount importance.

Buck indicated he would have to commit to complete infrastructure and the development, as well as put up various bonds to meet Metro Nashville’s requirements before work could start.

This map shows more detail about the layout of the project, and some photos of how the project could look.

Councilman Coleman said there would probably be another community meeting to discuss the project, which could go before the Metro Planning Commission in July and face public hearings in August.

Citizens are encouraged to provide their input to Councilman Sam Coleman by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]. His number is 615-641-5168.