Saturday, December 13, 2008

Richmond Rd and New Circle Rd TIF?

I have posted about the Lexington Mall property in the past (read it here) and I continue to hear of the local leaders attempts to do something about it. Then, the last Board of Adjustment meeting heard a case concerning the former Continental Inn property and the inappropriate use of storing truck trailers. Both of these properties were once sites of very popular enterprises and the destinations of many local shopping or entertainment trips. Both of these properties fell on hard times either from the failure to keep up with the times, by modernizing the facilities, or the uses of the facilities. These properties were in such decline, and in such prominent locations that they gained the attention of the LFUCG's Underutilized Property survey team.

The map of the surveyed properties (a portion of which is shown above) may be found here and a description of the ranking system here. I have a few questions about the accuracy of this map, mostly about property in the outer growth areas, but also some in the ring of properties adjacent to New Circle Rd. This "ring" contains a bulk of the developments built in the wave of expansion after World War II that ranged from 1948 -1970. The time 22 year span ('48 -'70) corresponds to the time it took to complete New Circle Rd.

A goodly number of developments built in conjunction with or because of New Circle have had to modify how and with whom they do business. The two drive-in theaters, that built "out in the country" but with good access, have been redeveloped into other retail/wholesale businesses and the shopping centers (Eastland, South Park, North Park...) , that used to be the first thing you came to upon entering Lexington, have had to reorient themselves to a more local trade or die.

There are a number of other properties currently in the stages of redevelopment along the New Circle Rd corridor. These being
  • The Lexus of Lexington parcel
  • The rebuild of Parkette
  • Several parcels around the Eastland center
  • The continuing progress of the block from Bryan Station to North Limestone (Goo Goo Car Wash, the Bryan Station Inn, the revamped gas stations and the up coming move of the CVS to the corner at N Lime)
  • The redo of the old Best Western into a brand new Candlewood Inn
Others properties outside this corridor but of the same time frame include the Turfland Mall, Gardenside Center, Cardinal Valley Center and the Springs Inn. Any of these could find themselves of the underutilized map very quickly.

Turfland Mall and Lexington Mall have a great many similarities. Both were built in the late'60s, both were anchored by McAlpin's and another large retailer, both had the other retailer replaced by Home Depot, both have had major drainage problems and both have had the higher end residential, that they relied on, continue to move further out the road.

All the foregoing have been commercial properties, but there are also some residential property that has fallen to underutilized status in the Richmond Rd/New Circle area. One of these is the, now closed, English Manor Apartments(built as Todds Trace Apartments). Three parcels of land comprising approximately 20 acres, 400+ units, purchased for $11.1 million in 2005 and not one of those units occupied for almost a year. Housing for roughly 1,000 people at a point which cold become a primary TOD spot.

So, we see some shortcomings of the underutilized property information and the missed redevelopment opportunities at just one major intersection. Approximately 40 acres of unused land worth well over the assessed $20 million. Why would this area not qualify for a TIF area?

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