An extensive public-private funding plan to expand the city of Nashville along the Cumberland River was unveiled this week, as Metro officials questioned lawyers seeking a partner in the complex project.
Three candidates have been interviewed to become new bond advisers to the Metro Industrial Development Board. The quasi-government agency expects the wave of bond applications for public-private transactions to grow the city with a coherent, connected strategy.
“This seems like an exciting time for the board to provide legal services,” said nominee Doug Aubrey, who recently served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. “It would be a good time for us to contact this board because you are looking to expand your wings. I find it very interesting.”
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Waller Lawyer Alex Buchanan and Carpenter Law, led by a father-son team, also showcased their extensive talents.
The board will meet next March 31 to discuss whether to make a proposal.
“Let’s take the time and reflect on the ideas and presentations,” said Nigel Hodge, director of IDB. “If the board does that, we can face the candidate and work on the line of engagement.”
Metro officials said they would work with private developers to rehabilitate and lease 100 acres of industrial East Bank land owned by the city and its environs.
“How can the city better acquire land ownership capacity?” Mayor John Cooper said in February, in response to himself: “As a partner in the project.”
The plan will begin with the New East Nashville Boulevard along the river. Officials said it would be surrounded by new parks, green roads, facilities and transit options.
“A lot of the work that is going on around the stadium is creating Nashville’s next big neighborhood,” Cooper said.
The initial plans are modeled on Wrigley Valley in Chicago, the area around the stadium that has shopping areas, bars and clubs close to residential communities.
Cooper emphasized that the plan was to create “no burden on general taxpayers” and that the metro would include “affordable housing” and “public amenities” in its development plans.
Lucy Kempf, director of metro planning, led a series of social workshops last year to share public information on riverside plans.
The new roads are part of a wider range of infrastructure that is under discussion between Metro Planning, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and other officials.
The new professional football stadium is in talks at the same time between the Tennessee Titans and Metro officials, who own Nissan Stadium.
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IDB members will be responsible for constructing the stadium or issuing any metro bonds to finance East Bank related infrastructure and development.
The bond attorney will assist in evaluating proposals for public / private development of projects (and) reviewing proposed funding plans, among other services, in accordance with Metro’s request for proposals. Services could happen in the next five years. “
Last year, the board approved a 17 175 million community benefit agreement for Oracle Corporation’s 2 1.2 billion campus in East Bank.
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This deal differs from previous tax increase funding, or TIF, which has been proposed to encourage higher quality development. Oracle will pay Metro in advance to finance the new footbridge and other extensive public service areas, instead of waiting for future tax revenue. In return, the company will receive a property tax deduction equal to this amount.
Courtney Pogg, director of Metro Economic Development, is working with IDB to raise fees for all development-related operations.
Pogo told the Industrial Development Board last month: “This is the first time we will have a plan for Nashville to create an economy that benefits all Nashville people.” “We want to make sure we have a very competitive city, but also to build an economy that is equal and inclusive.”
The IDB bond attorney will advise the board on the new fee structure.
“We will look at the structure of our fees as a whole,” Hodge said. “One of those items is our bond fee, of course. Whether it’s a cheap home building project or a development for a personal project, we can’t choose and choose. The fee is a fee for everyone.”
Prosecutors eagerly presented their talents.
“We will be invaluable in bringing you momentum with current practices in the industry and moving forward on your own,” said Attorney Corbyn Carpenter. “It’s on our street.”
Alex Buchanan was the only Nashville-based lawyer on Wednesday. The carpenters are based in Knoxville, Memphis and Aubrey, although they have all agreed to attend board meetings at no extra cost.
Board members questioned whether the Buchanan giant waller law firm offered the most potential conflict of interest. The company works with a number of local private developers.
Buchanan said he would reject the board’s representation in any deal involving the company’s private customers.
“Knowledge is power and it’s useful if you have specific knowledge,” Buchanan said of his development-industry awareness. “If you don’t know, you may not get as good a result as you would otherwise.”
Sandy Mazza can be reached at [email protected] by email, by calling 615-726-5962, or on Twitter andSandyMazza.