PHOTO: Design documents from Catalyst Design Group show an overhead view of the proposed mixed-use development project. / Photo courtesy of the city of Spring Hill
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
The mixed-use development project that would see more than 100 acres of commercial, office, restaurant and hotel development on the Tennessee Children’s Home property was further discussed by the Spring Hill Planning Commission during its meeting Tuesday, with the applicant saying he envisions the project as “a downtown district for Spring Hill.”
“I think this is seen as a unique opportunity across many different sectors to create really what is going to be seen as a downtown district for Spring Hill,” said Jeff Hines with Catalyst Design Group, the developer behind the project. “That is our goal, that’s what we’re committed to as a development team.”
First introduced to the city in late February, the project’s residential portion would see the development of 133 single family lots, 98 townhomes, 41 cottages, 315 multi-family apartments, and 100 assisted living and condo residences. It’s commercial portion would see the development of 90,000 square feet of retail and office space, 20,000 of restaurant space, 69,000 of corporate office space, two hotels, and 40,000 of second and third floors of office space above existing residential development.
The developer had also previously discussed the development of a live entertainment venue on the site, similar to Puckett’s in Franklin.
The project is broken into four phases of development, with the majority of the residential being the first phase. The buildout estimate for the entire project is roughly 10 years.
In the project’s documents, the applicant writes that it envisions the existing eight acre lake as an “amenity for recreation [and] community activities,” with the project in its entirety acting as “an identifiable downtown” for Spring Hill. Furthermore, historic Ferguson Hall, which had previously been said by the applicant to become part of a hotel, is listed for its intended inclusion in a more general sense, with some potential intended uses being for “a civic function, special events venue or office space.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Planning Commissioner Matt Fitterer shared some concerns on the project’s layout. Fitterer argued that the Lake and surrounding area designated to be for public use didn’t feel as such, due to its close proximity to the project’s residential development.
“Without knowing that that’s supposed to feel [like] public use, it kind of feels like the lake, park and trail system really belong to the townhomes and the multi-family [homes], and isn’t really a public facility,” Fitterer said. “The fact that parking’s back away towards the commercial stuff kind of adds to that feeling a little bit. I don’t quite know how to address that, but if there’s something we can do to kind of enhance that flow from Main Street all the way up to the lake, where it all has the feeling of being a public structure… right now you’ve kind of got a stopping point where all of a sudden, it feels private.”
The project’s layout as included in the submitted documents show that save for one hotel, the existing lake is completely surrounded by single family homes, apartments and senior assisted living facilities.
“Again, I’m not quite sure what the answer is there, but how it feels right now is that the lake and that area labeled community park is kind of segregated off and intended to be used by the multi-family and the townhomes,” Fitterer said. “I don’t think that’s the intention you’re going for.”
The applicant, Jeff Hines, agreed with Fitterer that that was not the intended vision for the project.
The next step for the mixed-use development project will be one last final development approval, which will be voted on Monday, June 10 during the next voting meeting of the city Planning Commission. Granted the item passes, it will then go on to the site approval process.