Hickory Hollow Mall deal up for big vote
Metro Council will have an apparent do-or-die vote Tuesday on the proposed Hickory Hollow Mall deal.
- Mayor John Cooper's administration wants to convert the underused complex into a health care facility for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Why it matters: The Cooper administration is touting the mall renovation project as a win-win for Antioch. It's a chance to improve health care outcomes and revitalize a community eyesore, the administration says.
Driving the news: Under Metro Council rules, no bond resolution can be approved while the city's operating budget is pending.
- Cooper must propose his budget by May 1, making Tuesday night's meeting the last chance for council to consider the $44 million mall renovation deal until July.
- But the city's option to buy the land expires June 28, according to information provided to council members Monday.
Yes, but: The agreement in principle between Cooper and VUMC was unveiled less than a month ago, so Metro Council members have expressed concerns that the deal could be approved before they've even seen an actual lease agreement, for example.
- "It's hard to believe that they will have put so much on such a tight frame without it being on purpose," Metro Councilmember Bob Mendes tells Axios.
The other side: The Cooper administration sent a memo Monday attempting to assuage council members' questions, and also provided appraisals showing the mall buildings that would be purchased and then leased back to VUMC are valued at $43.2 million, just under the agreed purchase price.
- The turnaround of nearly 30 days is similar to the time frame council members have to consider capital spending plans, the memo pointed out.
- And while council members won't have a lease agreement to review, VUMC has promised city leaders that its rent payments won't be less than the annual debt obligations.
What they're saying: "Mayor Cooper believes in the project and the benefits it will provide to the southeast Nashville community," Cooper spokesperson TJ Ducklo said in a statement. "We are looking forward to continuing our ongoing discussions with council members."
- The Cooper administration and Metro Councilmember Joy Styles, who represents the area, are planning to seek community feedback about how the city can use the rest of the complex.
📜 In addition to the Hickory Hollow mall renovation, Metro Council will consider a resolution that would place a series of proposed charter amendments on the ballot.
- A proposed amendment from Mendes would change the process for petition-driven charter amendments. The city is entrenched in litigation over a separate anti-tax charter amendment that was created with a petition drive.
🚔 Councilmember Zulfat Suara has proposed changing the charter to set new physical ability qualifications for the police department.
🎤 Council will also consider a plan to apply a historic overlay on the Exit/In music venue building.
- The overlay was pitched by the new owners of the building, AJ Capital Partners, who have vowed to save the music venue. The fate of the longtime operators remains uncertain.
🎶 Council will also vote on a resolution from Metro Councilmember Jeff Syracuse to revive the Music City Music Council.
Editor's note: This story was corrected to state that bond resolution approvals are governed by a Metro Council rule, not a law.
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