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Two-and-a-half years after the Metro Council failed to purchase the former Tennessee School for the Blind building for $11.3 million, Nashville Mayor John Cooper is proposing to buy the state-owned property for $20 million.
Cooper, an at-large council member at the time, was one of six votes against the land purchase proposed by then-Mayor David Briley in June 2019. The purchase needed 21 votes to pass but received just 17. Cooper went on to defeat Briley in the mayoral election in September.
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Why it matters: Cooper tells Axios he wishes the city had bought the property earlier at the lower price, but touted the proposal as a great deal now for the city now.
Cooper says the state could otherwise put the land up for sale at auction and garner much more than the $20 million Metro is offering. He says the 88 Hermitage property is vital for activating the Cumberland riverfront and creating more greenspace downtown as part of a new project called Wharf Park.
What he's saying: "I should be honest and tell you that some of this is forcing my hand, because the state is going to sell 88 Hermitage to somebody," Cooper says.
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