Church redevelopment to return before council

October 9, 2018, Scott Broden, the Daily News Journal

The old First United Methodist Church serves as an office for Franklin Synergy Bank in downtown Murfreesboro. The City Council bought the property from the bank and plans to preserve much of its historic structure while redeveloping the property. (HELEN COMER/DNJ)

Updated efforts to redevelop downtown’s historic former First United Methodist Church into a restaurant, condos, hotel, parking garage, offices and shops will be part of Wednesday’s Murfreesboro City Council workshop.

The meeting starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers on the first floor of City Hall, 111 W. Vine St.

The council bought the former church for $1.55 million in January 2016 from Franklin Synergy Bank. The elected officials have offered to sell the property and an adjacent city parking lot for redevelopment that can preserve a sanctuary and bell tower that dates back to 1888.

City staff have been negotiating with a Murfreesboro Investment Group that proposed a $1.8 million plan in February to redevelop the church for commercial and residential uses.

The group plans in February included converting the sanctuary and bell tower area into a 15,000-square-foot restaurant with a gift shop. Other plans called for 44,000-square-foot boutique hotel with 80 rooms and amenities; 55 residential condominiums totaling 58,000 square feet; and a parking garage with 456 spaces and on-street parking with another 48 spaces.

Solid waste cost of service study

The group plans showed three buildings that would range from four to six stories. When counting plans for the sanctuary and bell tower, the total square footage would range from 159,000 to 200,000, City Manager Craig Tindell said.

Murfreesboro Investment Group’s principal investors are Nick Patel, Bob Patel and Mike Chaudhary.

The group hopes to attain tax increment financing for the project through the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board.

Tax increment financing allows property tax payments before improvements to remain the same. From there, the financing plan applies the net increase in taxes after redevelopment to be used toward paying for a bond to help finance the project or infrastructure.

The group estimates that the completed project will generate $2.3 million in annual taxes, with the state collecting nearly $1.1 million, Rutherford County getting $753,253 and the city receiving $517,509.

In addition to discussing redevelopment of the historic church, the council will examine the following:

 Acceptance of FY18 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Action Item)

 Proposed Pay Plan

 Solid Waste Cost of Service Study

 McKnight Park Property Conversion

Reach Scott Broden through email at [email protected], phone at 615-2785158 or on Twitter @ScottBroden.

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