Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Developers pitch revamped mixed-use project in MJ

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Developers pitched a revised concept plan for a large mixed-use project in north Mt. Juliet that is slated to go before the Mt. Juliet Planning Commission in July.

Mike Murphy of Cumberland Advisors presented the evolved project to local business owners at the Mt. Juliet Chamber's economic meeting last week. The project is called Northtown Village/Mixed Use and is slated for a large parcel of land situated on North Mt. Juliet and Lebanon roads (across the street from Kroger).

Local developer Rob Porter introduced the project that has been revised several times over the past year after community response to the originally proposed apartments was unfavorable.

"I appreciate him wanting to come in here to do something," Porter said.

He showed multiple projects Cumberland Advisors oversaw in Nashville and beyond as visual comparisons of what they planned for Mt. Juliet.

What's different about this project that has 274 units planned (ranging from one to three bedrooms) is now there is a commercial aspect, Murphy explained.

"We presented a concept last year and stepped back to address the city's concerns," he said. "Now we are presenting to you again and believe this is a positive improvement to the north side of town."

Murphy said the development would be the "the missing piece of the puzzle" related to infrastructure in north Mt. Juliet, a tax base and economics to support existing businesses in the area.

This new plan includes garden-style three story walkups, as well as commercial on the first level.

"The front of the gated community is commercial on the first level with the front mixed use. Some of the amenities include a business center with conference room, a cyber café, resort-style pool and sundeck, outdoor kitchen and grilling stations with tables and seating, monthly social events programs, fully equipped fitness center with a group fitness studio, dog park and grooming station, and a formal community park space with multiple landscaped courtyards.

There's also planned five-acres of green space adjacent to Cedar Creek and the Mt. Juliet greenway system.

Murphy emphasized the project will bring a total of $2.7 million in contributions in Mt. Juliet community projects.

The developers said if the project were approved, they would bring $450,000 in improvements at the Golden Bear Gateway and Lebanon Road intersection.

"And that will be matched by the Tennessee Department of Transportation," Murphy said.

There would be $600,000 in projects for installation of a traffic signal and related improvements at Lebanon Road near the exit of Kroger. Murphy said also planned is $350,000 to fund development of the Greenway from Charlie Daniels Park to the Little League Park, plus extension of the Greenway from Cedar Creek to North Mt. Juliet Road.

Murphy projected the project would bring in about $330,000 in property tax.

"This project is mutually beneficial and increases walkability in north Mt. Juliet," he said.

A business owner asked about increased traffic and Murphy and Porter noted the proposed infrastructure improvements.

"The increase in traffic would be less than if two McDonalds were added to the area," Porter said. "This is in the middle of a commercial area."

They also indicated the project would help increase more retail development on Lebanon Road.

"The beauty of this concept is the courtyard aspect," Murphy noted. "The buildings are 90 feet apart and it's a nice canvas to paint a landscape."

He said the residents are what will animate the project.

Since there are no elevators in the apartments, when asked about ADA compliance Murphy said 3 percent of the units will be as required by law.

The projected rents are $1,000 per month for a one bedroom, $1,200 for a two bedroom, and $1,450 for a three bedroom.

This will be heard by planning in July where Murphy will pitch the project.

"I realize it's hard to break out of the mentality of we don't want apartments," Porter said. "I can understand this, but this is a wonderful project and will instantly make it the nicest apartment complex in Mt. Juliet."

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