HomeBusinessCity leaders taking initial steps toward acquiring, demolishing Jackson Plaza

City leaders taking initial steps toward acquiring, demolishing Jackson Plaza

The Jackson City Council approved on Tuesday the first reading the amendment to the City’s budget that will pay $4 million to the Rosenblum family for the ownership of the Jackson Plaza.

The second reading is scheduled for the Council’s next meeting on Jan. 3, 2023.

Mayor Scott Conger and Councilman Paul Taylor, the chairman of the City’s budget committee, did most of the talking in the eight-minute special called meeting in which this was the only item on the agenda.

Taylor said the acquisition of the property is what the City needs is to acquire the property to ensure a less-than-ideal entity were to take the land over.

“This land is near the heart of the city, and it’s in a key spot where we could benefit from redevelopment in the area,” Taylor said.

Taylor discussed that Conger’s announced plans of a convention center and 9,000-seat arena may be the best use for the space but it could be something else, which is why there were two other recommendations with the motion.

The first one being a master plan be developed for the property and the surrounding areas including Old Hickory Mall, the shopping center on Old Hickory Boulevard that includes Big Lots and Lynwood Shopping Center at the corner of Old Hickory and North Parkway.

The second recommendation would be to do a feasibility study on the Mayor’s proposals if the convention center and arena would be the best use for that space.

“There’s a lot of things to look at for that including traffic studies,” Taylor said after the meeting. “A lot of the traffic that would go to a concert in the arena would probably pull off the interstate and drive down Highland Avenue but some could come down the bypass and come in on Old Hickory or North Parkway.

“There’s just a lot of potential variables that need to be addressed and discussed among people who have adequate knowledge of these concepts.”

Conger said adequate parking is something that needs to be assured in the process, and based on a study the city did in 2017, the property would be good for this purpose.

“Downtown was the ideal site for this according to the study, but there’s no available property downtown,” Conger said. “This site was No. 2 and one of the reasons is because of the space available.

“A total space of 190,000 square feet is recommended, and this land has 220,000.”

Assuming the second reading is approved for the budget amendment (which Conger said nothing that’s passed on first reading has failed on second during his time as Mayor and his previous time on the Council) as well as the studies are approved, Conger and Taylor both estimated at least eight months before those studies are complete.

Conger said last week he has the goal of beginning demolition of the Service Merchandise building before the end of 2023 but admitted that is an ambitious goal. One aspect of demolition that was discussed during Tuesday’s meeting was the removal of asbestos required by law, which will add another step to that process.

Any other timeline on this process is dependent on the results of the study and selection of a developer for the area.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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