Will Project Keystone Get Downtown Murfreesboro Development Started?

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project keystone broad street view

Beginning in about 2015, the City of Murfreesboro started work on a plan for downtown that included development along Broad Street. It was thought that One East College would begin the downtown development process, but if Project Keystone gets off the ground soon, then it looks like it will be the catalyst the city has been looking for growth in the area.

In a video created by HRP Residential Mayor Shane McFarland says, “You look at Knoxville, you look at Chattanooga, you look at thriving downtowns that we all want our downtown to resemble, they all have a component of people living downtown and we have zero downtown units.”

This project, proposed by Brentwood-based developer HRP Residential, will makeover a large section of land owned by the city that runs along Broad from Church to Vine. They have already sold the seven acres to the developer for $5 million. One parcel not belonging to the city is the building housing WGNS Radio.

City officials hope that this development will spur additional development in the Historic Bottom area of downtown. It will offer about 100 condominiums, more than 200 apartments, at least 80 boutique hotel rooms, office space, about 40,000 feet of retail space, and more than 700 parking spaces. Located across Broad Street will be the new daylighted creek park that is also being developed by the city.

“How do you create the design of a building that will do well for the city 50 years from now? How is it going to incubate other projects…as they develop along the corridor?” These are the questions Bart Klein of Klein Swinney Associates said his firm asked as they were designing what will become the gateway into downtown Murfreesboro.

Zoning for the project has already been approved and contracts have been signed. Once the ground is broken, the development is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

Extensive road changes will have to take place, including an additional thru-lane from the South Church Street entrance to City Hall Parking to Northwest Broad Street, a new right turn lane onto Northwest Broad Street, a new right turn from Southeast Broad Street onto South Church Street, and realignment of the intersection of West Vine Street, South Front Street, and Northwest Broad Street. A pedestrian bridge will also cross Broad Street to the park area.

There are both pluses and minuses to the project. While it is expected to stimulate business in the downtown area and create less traffic because it will offer opportunities for people to walk to work both downtown and due to its proximity to Middle Tennessee State University, the cost of apartment rental is not inexpensive, set at about $2,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. The cost of a condominium has not yet been announced.

One stipulation in the contract with the city is that five percent of the apartments are offered to police officers, firefighters, teachers and others through a “Hometown Heroes Rent Reduction Program” that would provide 30% below market rate on leases.

Developers have asked for up to $26 million in tax rebates from the city to fund improvements to the area, such as building sidewalks and parking garages.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think it is absolutely BS that the city give the developers any breaks, how much are we (Murfreesboro residents and taxpayers) making from this? Answer nothing! But what are the developers making, millions? We need leadership changes and a new direction for OUR city!

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