Scott Broden, The Daily News Journal, March 11, 2016
MURFREESBORO — The City Council decided to support rezoning for 269 apartments Thursday after the developer pledged to preserve a historic home on Manson Pike in the Blackman community.
“The neighborhood got a whole lot of what they wanted,” Murfreesboro Vice Mayor Doug Young said in calling for the unanimous vote to approve the development on 17.3 acres on the north side of Manson Pike. “I think this is a good opportunity to save the house.”
The rezoning request first came before the City Council in November, but the elected officials deferred a vote after hearing concerns about the historic home from neighbors.
Project investor Bill Hunter of Murfreesboro came back Thursday night with a more detailed planned residential development that called for preserving the home as a residence for an employee, such as a property manager or employee for the apartments.
“It’s going to be a nice project,” Hunter said after the first of three required votes to make the rezoning official.
Neighbors led by Tammie Cleek also persuaded Hunter to add 2 feet to the height of a privacy fence that had been planned for 6 feet.
“An eight-foot fence is what we need,” Cleek said during the public hearing.
Cleek and neighbor Leslie Smith praised the developer for making concessions but said they remained concerned about how their rural community on the city’s west side is transforming into a high-density area for apartments such as Panther Creek across the street or large housing subdivisions such as the 750 homes proposed on Blackman Road.
“Bottom line is I don’t want this development next to our subdivision,” Smith said.
“It’s not my wish to have this here,” Cleek added. “I don’t feel this is the best transition. I feel like owner occupied would be the best transition.”
The townhouse-style Springfield Luxury Apartments should begin construction by the late summer or early fall, said Charles Haskett, who is the development manager on the project.
“We still have a lot of design work and a lot of permitting,” said Haskett, who’s from Birmingham, Ala.
The property was settled in 1806 by Col. John Smith before the house was built around 1809, Haskett said.
Haskett said he expects the development to begin leasing by mid-summer 2017, with construction completed by the end of that year.
The apartments will rent for an average of $1,200 per month for one-, two- and three-bedroom units, added Hunter, the local developer on the project.
Hunter said he’s developed other apartments, including Charleston Hall across the street from the Nissan auto factory in Smyrna. He also developed Georgetown condominiums and Rivermont, Hunter added.
When the developer began pursuing the Manson Pike property, Hunter said, he had intended to tear down the historic house because the property could have held more than 300 apartments. The neighbors, Hunter said, persuaded him to save the home.
The home will need a new roof and repairs to brick and the porch, said Clyde Rountree, a project planning consultant with Huddleston-Steele Engineering in Murfreesboro.
“Other than that the home is in very good shape,” Rountree said.
The development will preserve 2 acres around the historic home and as many of the existing mature trees as possible that are 60 to 80 feet tall while planting other trees, Rountree said.
The development will not have buildings that are two and three stories tall on top of a cave that passes under the property, Rountree said.
The apartments and the clubhouse with a pool near the entrance will use an architectural style that will complement the historic home, Rountree said.
The planned residential development also will build to the stricter Gateway standards for landscaping and building designs and materials, such as for stone and brick.
Reach Scott Broden at 615-278-5158 and on Twitter @ScottBroden./em>