Murfreesboro officials agreed Wednesday to sell rather than donate city land for $3.3 million for a Notes Live amphitheater and restaurant development.
"We ended up with a better product," Murfreesboro City Council member Bill Shacklett said before calling for the 6-0 vote to accept a revised development agreement recommended by City Manager Craig Tindall.
The previously proposed development agreement that would have donated city land for the project failed to get a majority vote by a split council. The property in question had been available for several years to attract a headquarters on Medical Center Parkway. The parkway connects to three federal roads: Interstate 24 and U.S. Highways 41 and 231.
Retiring council member Rick LaLance abstained from Wednesday's vote. LaLance, fellow council member Shawn Wright and Vice Mayor Madelyn Scales Harris opposed the initial development agreement involving a land donation.
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The Notes Live project will be on 18.2 acres on the south side of the parkway by the intersection with Gateway Boulevard and across from the Fountains at Gateway commercial property and near Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital.
The agreement will allow Notes Live to pay $163,350 annually over 20 years. The company also will be paying 100% of the property taxes, said Robert Mudd, the president and chief operating officer for Notes Live.
The Notes Live developers expect to complete all of the now estimated $30 million project by late 2024 or early 2025. The proposal includes the following:
a 4,500-seat amphitheater called, "The Sunset Music Colosseum on the River," for outdoor concerts with 45 VIP Fire-pit Suites and seating for up to eight guests;
a "Boot Barn Hall" for indoor music and meals for 500 patrons for fully seated events with 8-top tables and 900 patrons in general admission style configurations;
and a Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse and Tavern with restaurant seating for 300 customers.
The amphitheater part of the project is expected to take 24 months to build after Notes Live obtains a ground disturbance permit. The other projects are expected to take about 18 months to complete, Mudd said.
Mudd said Notes Live will be booking Grammy-award-winning performers. He expects shows to be recorded for "Live from Murfreesboro" concerts that will be available to people across the world.
Notes Live, which is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, also may attract a Roth Seafood and Chophouse restaurant to the property, Tindall has said.
The company is building a similar development in Gainesville, Georgia, that's expected to open in 2023, as well as an 8,000-seat amphitheater in Colorado Springs. The Colorado project will offer landscape views of Pikes Peak and the U.S. Air Force Academy, Mudd said.
$1.5M in annual taxes expected
The developer also will be required by the contract to hold sufficient concert events to help the city generate desired revenues from local sales taxes.
The arrangement stipulates the developer provide at least five ticketed events annually with paid attendance of more than 2,500. If Notes Live is unable to honor the requirement, the company will pay the city an amount equal to the $15.74 per square foot for 15 acres (about $10.3 million), which is the commercial development part of the property.
The Notes Live development also must adhere to the requirements of the city's planning, engineering and building codes officials, Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland said.
The agreement further allows the Murfreesboro government to use of 3.2 acres of a shared parking lot Notes Live is building to the back of the property. The shared area would provide the city with space for events and a trailhead parking area for the eventual expansion of the Stones River Greenway along the West Fork of the Stones River, Tindall's report said. The Notes Live property is adjacent to the river.
The Notes Live project would involve 132 jobs to build the development with an annual average wage estimated to be $54,000. Once finished, Notes Live will have around 200 employees with about 40% being full-time, according to a report to the council from the city manager.
The jobs would include two executives earning $100,000 to $120,000 annually and 10 others making above the county's average annual wage, the report said.
Annual sales from the completed projects will bring in $32.5 million to $40 million, and the city should gain nearly $1.5 million in yearly taxes without counting the addition of Roth Seafood and Chophouse, Tindall's report said.
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Council helps project traffic concerns by funding parkway widening project
Those against the initial agreement expressed concerns about traffic and noise.
The council, though, addressed some of the future traffic concerns by recently approving a $26 million funding plan to widen Medical Center Parkway from two lanes each way to three. City officials hope to bid the first phase of the widening work by January. If all goes according to plan, the widening work could be completed by fall 2026.
The council also approved $7.1 million in funding for a new road project that will connect the parkway and Gateway Boulevard to Robert Rose Drive. The future road will provide another route to the Notes Live development.
In addition to the city's road plans, Notes Live will be building right and left turn lanes into entrances to the development along both Medical Center Parkway and Gateway Boulevard, said Matt Taylor, a project civil engineer. Taylor is vice president of Murfreesboro-based SEC (Site Engineering Consultants).
Notes Life also will work with a consultant to craft a traffic management plan for events, said Mudd, the executive from the Colorado Springs company.
Mudd also talked about the development efforts to follow the city's regulations for noise.
Those by the front of nearby Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, for example, will hear a limit of 61 decibels of concert sounds, and that's about the equivalent of what people hear in a car traveling about 50 miles per hour or being inside a large store like The Home Depot, Mudd told the council.
Night concerts will shut down at 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. Saturday and Friday, Mudd said.
"We’re going to be proactive in working with our neighbors (to address concerns)," Mudd said.
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Facts about Notes Live project
Location for proposed development: South side of Medical Center Parkway at Gateway Boulevard intersection across from The Fountains at Gateway
Number of seats for "The Sunset Music Colosseum on the River" (amphitheater for outdoor concerts): 4,500
Number of seats for seats for "Boot Barn Hall" for indoor concerts: 500 patrons for fully seated events for music and meals with 8-top tables and 900 patrons in general admission style configurations
Number of seats for development's plan for Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse and Tavern: 300
Acres of city land available for development: 18.2
Shared acres the developer will allow city to use for events and parking to trailhead for future expansion of Stones River Greenway: 3.2
What developer agrees to pay over 20 years: Nearly $3.3 million
Annual payment from developer over 20 years: $163,350
Percentage developer expects to pay for property taxes: 100%
Source: Murfreesboro City Council agendas and Notes Live
This article originally appeared on Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: Revised Notes Live amphitheater project wins Murfreesboro approval