Murfreesboro City Council to meet on old First United Methodist church

Scott Broden, Daily News Journal, March 26, 2016

Courtesy of Cat Murphy/The Murfreesboro Post

Courtesy of Cat Murphy/The Murfreesboro Post

Workshop scheduled to discuss redevelopment

MURFREESBORO — The City Council will hold a workshop soon to discuss redevelopment and preservation goals for the former First United Methodist Church in the downtown area.

The upcoming meeting about the old church building that dates back to 1888 will begin at 5 p.m. April 7 in Council Chambers at City Hall, 111 W. Vine St., City Manager Rob Lyons announced during Thursday’s City Council meeting.

City staff has met with Nashville developers to gather ideas for development of the site and will bring those ideas to the April 7 meeting, according to a news release from the city.

This past January, the City Council approved the purchase of the old First United Methodist Church and its 1.87 acres at Church and College streets from Franklin Synergy Bank for $1.55 million, according to a letter to elected officials from City Manager Rob Lyons, who noted that the closing of the contract on the property is scheduled to occur before April 1.

The six present City Council members also agreed Thursday night to lease the property to the bank for $9,172 per month through June 30, 2017. Councilwoman Madelyn Scales Harris, who’s dealing with an illness, was absent.

The lease arrangement allows the bank to continue headquarters operations while Franklin Synergy is constructing a new building in the Gateway area, Lyons said in his letter.

“Franklin Synergy Bank’s new building in the Gateway is expected to be complete in late 2016,” Lyons said. “The bank desires to operate in downtown as long as possible and wishes to remain in these buildings until the city has the buildings obligated or until June 30, 2017.”

Franklin Synergy acquired the former First United Methodist property from the church in 2003.

After the congregation sold to the bank, First United Methodist Church relocated to Thompson Lane near Siegel schools and Memorial Boulevard on the far north side of the city.

Lyons said the old church property has three main components: the former sanctuary, the former classrooms and gymnasium, and an out-building that was the former location of a Realty and auction company later acquired by Mid-South Bank, which became part of Franklin Synergy.

The bank converted the gymnasium to a bank lobby and used the building’s classrooms as offices, the Lyons letter said.

“Franklin Synergy originally hoped to convert the sanctuary to the main bank lobby,” Lyons said.  “However, that never materialized.  The former auction building contains the bank’s mortgage division.”

The bank is located near the city’s Square and where the Rutherford County government is building a new six-story Judicial Center with a nearby parking garage on Lytle Street. The Judicial Center is scheduled to open June 2018.

Contact Scott Broden at 615-278-5158. Follow him on Twitter @ScottBroden.

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