The city-issued stop work order that halted construction on the south Mt. Juliet Starbucks, Moe's and other businesses in the commercial center under construction was lifted Tuesday.
For the past few months that district's commissioner, Brian Abston, has been at loggerheads with the developer of the project, Boyle Investments, who also developed the South Mt. Juliet Publix in the same area.
The city issued the stop work order out of desperation to force Boyle Investments to commit to constructing a second access to the development, rather than forcing all their tenants' customers to share a single entrance with the Holiday Inn Express.
"Without the cross access traffic will be problematic to say the least," Abston said.
He originally said he had great hope the developer would pay for the second entrance, but Adam Ballash with Boyle supplied Abston and the City of Mt. Juliet with 2009 documents he said show final approval and he said the plans "ultimately reconciled the environmental permitting, removed the bridge, realigned the creek and permitted the removal of wetlands." In other words, Ballash indicated Boyle was not legally bound to add a second entrance to what Abston termed "Mt. Juliet's latest crash spot."
Both sides have discussed alternative ideas
Earlier, Ballash indicated his company would not commit to the second access construction. However, apparently the stop work order forced both the city and Boyle attorneys to "work on getting things going," said Abston this week.
"There's a new part to all this, and the work order has been lifted, temporarily," he said. "I, along with Mayor Ed Hagerty, city staff and our Deputy Public Works Director Andy Barlow met Tuesday with Boyle representatives to discuss options on the table. They agreed to get with our engineers to talk about a couple things."
Discussed were Boyle's building the bridge or providing an alternate route, which is longer and not over water, Abston said.
"They would provide not the mish-mash that is already there," Abston noted. "And not having to go through the hotel parking lot."
He said no matter the option, Bolye would incur the cost.
"We didn't like putting a stop work order on the project, but it was the only way to get them to the table," Abston said. "This is in the spirit of cooperation now to lift it, and it is effective only until 8 a.m. March 2. They have that time to work with our engineer and decide which route they will take. If they come back without some kind of design agreement, it will highly be likely we will be forced to stop work again."
Until then, construction will now continue moving forward on the 7,800-square-foot commercial center. Along with Starbucks and Moe's Southwest Grille, there are planned Supercuts and a Chinese restaurant.
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.