Developers granted $6M tax deal to help fund garage for Murfreesboro church project

August 28, 2019, Daily News Journal, Scott Broden

Developers obtained a $6 million property tax break agreement Wednesday to help fund a public parking garage as part of the mixed-use redevelopment of a historic downtown Murfreesboro church.

“We are extremely excited about this project,” said Brian Davis, president and chief operating officer for TRC Construction Services Inc. of Brentwood.

In a unanimous vote, the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board agreed to a tax incremental financing arrangement that can last up to 15 years. The County Commission and Murfreesboro City Council also must approve the agreement with one East College LLC.

The historic former First United Methodist Church in downtown Murfreesboro will include a community venue in a sanctuary and bell tower area that dates back to 1888, according to a City Council agreement with investors seeking to redevelop the property.

The council purchased the 1.9-acre historic former First United Methodist Church property from Franklin Synergy Bank in 2016 for $1.55 million. The city’s goal was to preserve the sanctuary and bell tower, which date back to 1888.

Davis said the sanctuary will be preserved and used as an event space or restaurant. The project also will add backlighting within the bell tower to illuminate the stained glass windows.

In addition to preserving the historic church, the development includes a 110-room hotel and 55 residential dwellings that could be for condos or apartments. Plans also include a five-story office building with retail spaces on the bottom floor along with the garage, which would have 505 parking spaces. Estimates for the cost of the garage project are between $10 million and $12 million. The project will be about 200,000 square feet and have more than one building ranging from four to six stories. The 2.5-acre site is located at the intersection of East College and North Church streets, about a block from the Public Square.

With an expected cost between $65 million to $70 million, the project is expected to be completed in June 2022, Davis said.

Davis said the plans will be submitted to the Murfreesboro Planning Department by Sept. 12 for review. He expects demolition of the old church classroom building to start in January.

The project properties had a 2018 appraisal value of about $2.7 million, but these parcels were owned by the city and off the tax rolls, Rutherford County Property Assessor Rob Mitchell said.

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