Murfreesboro City Council picks developer for historic church project

Scott Broden, The Daily News Journal, February 22, 2018

The Franklin Synergy Bank wants to sell its headquarters building that was once home to First United Methodist Church in downtown Murfreesboro. (HELEN COMER/DNJ)

Murfreesboro officials favored the $1.8 million offer from Murfreesboro Investment Group Thursday to redevelop the historic former First United Methodist Church into restaurant, hotel, condos, offices and shops.

“I would lean toward us narrowing the cut to one and start(ing) the process as quickly as we can,” City Councilman Eddie Smotherman said.

Murfreesboro officials favored the $1.8 million offer from Murfreesboro Investment Group Thursday to redevelop the historic former First United Methodist Church into restaurant, hotel, condos, offices and shops.

“I would lean toward us narrowing the cut to one and start(ing) the process as quickly as we can,” City Councilman Eddie Smotherman said.

Plan calls for church sanctuary to be part of restaurant


The council previously ranked Murfreesboro Investment Group and Bill Barkley of Franklin with City Development Company as the top two applicants out of four.

Smotherman noted how Murfreesboro Investment Group’s bid was better because it included a hotel, more parking and a better price to the city than Barkley’s $1.3 million offer.

The Murfreesboro Investment Group plan at this time calls for a 44,000-square-foot boutique hotel with 80 rooms and amenities.

The project would include 55 residential condominiums in 58,000 square feet.

Another plan calls for a 15,000-square-foot restaurant that would include the sanctuary and bell tower part of the church, Tindall said.

Mayor questions condo part of plan

Murfreesboro Investment Group plans to offer 27,000 square feet for offices and 14,800 square feet for retail.

A parking garage with 456 spaces is part of the plan, and another 48 spaces will be available for on-street parking.

Overall, the project calls for three buildings that are four to six stories and the church with a range of 159,000 to 200,000 square feet, said Tindall, noting that the design details are flexible at this time.

McFarland agreed flexibility is important because 55 condominiums may be too many.

“It may not be enough living space,” said McFarland, who owns and operates a construction company.

Murfreesboro Investment Group also hopes to attain tax increment financing for the project through the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board.

Tax increment finances allows property tax payments to remain the same before improvements and applies the net increase in taxes after redevelopment to be used toward paying for a bond to help finance the project.

The principal investors of Murfreesboro Investment Group are Nick Patel, Bob Patel and Mike Chaudhary.

Nick Patel, of Livonia, Mich., touted how his development team includes Murfreesboro engineer Matt Taylor with SEC (Site Engineering Consultants Inc.), Murfreesboro attorney Jeff Reed and Brentwood firm H. Michael Hindman Architects.

“We believe this project is viable,” said Nick Patel, who noted how Murfreesboro Investment Group will own and operate the boutique hotel that could be a franchise of Marriott or Hilton.

Reach Scott Broden at sbroden@dnj.com or on Twitter @ScottBroden.

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