Monday, September 14, 2009

Property owners snub Nashville's offers for convention center land

Three weeks after rejecting Metro government's initial offer to buy the site of his auto repair shop within the footprint of a proposed downtown convention hall, Will Fischer is anxious to see whether he and the city can bridge a sizable gap in each side's perceived value of the land.
City officials say bids like the $59 a square foot they have offered to Fischer are based on accurate appraisals and reflect fair value for property the city wants to acquire for the planned $635 million Music City Center.

But several private landowners with parcels the city covets put the value of their acreage around $80 per square foot, and some accuse the Metro agency in charge of acquiring the property of making low-ball offers.

"What the city is offering me is compensation for my existing building instead of a replacement for my existing building," Fischer said. He has been offered a little more than $1 million for a site he paid $600,000 some eight years ago for Nashville Autohaus.

By next week, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency expects to have made offers to all of the 14 private owners with land in the Music City Center's footprint. The prices vary based on numerous factors. The new convention hall has been proposed to replace the smaller Nashville Convention Center on the other side of Broadway from the new site.

So far, the city agency has bought one property for $60 per square foot — or $500,000 — and two owners verbally agreed to purchase prices with work continuing toward an actual contract, said Joe Cain, MDHA's director of development.

"We've offered more than the tax assessor … appraised those properties for," Cain said, adding that plans for a convention hall on the site weren't considered in valuing the parcels. Real estate observers, meanwhile, say that a sharp decline in demand for, and the value of commercial land because of the recent real estate downturn could help explain the disagreement.

(2 of 2)

Nashville medical trade center hires adviser with Vanderbilt tiesInvestor Report: Wind Energy