After an arduous meeting, Mt. Juliet commissioners have unanimously given the go-ahead to “Project Sam” with rezoning and preliminary master plan approval.
Developers of the project reportedly linked to Amazon said there is an expected 2021 opening.
The proposed project is a 3.6 million square foot, five-story, 92-foot high industrial building on 79.78 acres at the corner of East Division Street and Golden Bear Gateway.
Part of the facility includes 3.5 million square feet of warehousing and 80,000 square feet of office space.
“This could bring 1,000 jobs to this area,” Whitfield Hamilton, with developer Panattoni, said. “It’s world class with all types of next generation jobs.”
The approval came with more concessions on both the city and the developer’s part for what Mayor Ed Hagerty said could very well be the “single largest project in Tennessee and one of the top 10 largest buildings in the country.”
Hamilton told commissioners that if they didn’t approve the project that night his client would walk.
The meeting lasted about four hours with a 90-minute recess to allowed Panattoni to call its client to see if it would concede to several project changes asked for by the city.
Hagerty had concerns about the traffic study used for impact numbers was for a building much smaller than proposed and could not be accurate.
“This building we are talking about is four times larger than what the study says,” he said.
Whitfield said, “My client has spent much time with engineers. We’ve spent $100,000 on the traffic study.”
Hagerty also questioned the number of parking spaces scheduled.
“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” he said. “… I’m no engineer but I won’t be duped.”
After lengthy discussion about the need for major improvements on East Division Street and sewer costs, Vice Mayor James Maness offered an olive branch that previous concerns to put in faux windows and have 100 percent brick be put aside. This was approved in a 3-2 vote.
The applicant agreed to pay up to $7 million for road improvements to East Division Street and anything over that the city agreed to pay. Also, the city agreed to pay for right-of-way costs on East Division Street for the road project.
Also, the client agreed to consider using existing sewer lines rather than putting in new ones and perhaps building pump stations to save money, with those savings going toward improvements on East Division Street.