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South MJ Starbucks developer takes Mt. Juliet to court over impasse

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With a second stop work order in place at the south Mt. Juliet Starbucks strip-center, Mt. Juliet heads to court because of a tangle with developer Boyle Investments.

The City and Memphis-based Boyle Investments will be in Wilson County Court May 27 to hear a ruling over whether the city's second stop work order on the development will be lifted.

Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty is convinced the ruling will be in the city's favor.

"I can't imagine the court ruling in their favor on this," Hagerty said Tuesday.

Work is at a standstill in the center that will have Starbucks, and also Moe's, Supercuts, a Chinese restaurant and the already-opened Edible Arrangements. It's near Boyle's tenant Publix's grocery store.

The issue that's resulted in a May 27 face-off revolves around a many-month's attempt by Mt. Juliet to convince Boyle to add a rear cross-access to their tenant Publix's center. They said it was approved in the original 2004 plan.

"Without the cross access the traffic will be problematic, to say the least," District 4 City Commissioner Brian Abston said, referring to the fact customers must go through Holiday Inn Express's drive to access the businesses. There's only one entry/exit at this time.

However, after months of discussions the issue has landed in court with Boyle asking the court to lift the stop work order, in their favor.

"I remember clearly the original approval and it had the bridge (second access)," said Hagerty.

Mt. Juliet stopped worked on the development in January and again several weeks ago in an attempt to force Boyle to the table and carry through "their original" obligation to provide a second access to the development.

Hagerty said months of discussions allowed Boyle to come up with some options and the city eventually agreed to a Plan B, that did not have the favored bridge, but a lesser, but agreeable other access.

"Plan B without the bridge was a substitute," Hagerty said. "They've rejected that idea and are taking it to court. Now, I feel, Plan B is off the table."

Abston said he hopes the city will prevail.

"I really hope this case will be looked at fairly," he said. "I know it will be. It's what is best for my constituents and the business owners."

Abston said the city did "everything we could to keep this out of the courts."

"I have the support of the mayor and the commission on this," he said. "I feel it is a very good case. I feel for the business owners, but this has been a breach. It's not been fun."

Hagerty said he feels Boyle is legally bound to build the access bridge that was originally approved.

"I hate it for the businesses, I know they are in limbo and are stuck," he said. "But, we've made concessions and have tried to work with Boyle."

Boyle has some additional, undeveloped property in Mt. Juliet. Hagerty said if they bring in a proposal on that property in the future, it will "be considered like everything else." He said this dust-up with Boyle won't be considered on any future approvals, but the city would be sure to be very alert in the process.

"It's just the right thing to do," he said.

Calls to Boyle were unreturned at press time.

Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at laurieeverett1@gmail.com.

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