During a Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Monday night, Alderman Dan Allen brought forth the idea of purchasing more than 500 acres of land - located east of Interstate 65 and Saturn Parkway - for the purpose of future city development.
While the purchase of the property was not up for vote Monday night, city leaders did ultimately vote 7-1 to set aside $132,000 for a deposit and other due diligence fees associated with the purchase. Vice Mayor Amy Wurth was the only alderman who voted against the measure, citing there being “too many unknowns” to support moving forward.
“Given all the things that have come up in the last few months related to water and sewer, expansion and city facilities, the one thing that keeps coming back is that we just don’t have a lot of land,” Allen said when introducing the proposal.
“I think it’s a good piece of dirt, we got it negotiated at a pretty good price, and I just think there’s a lot of needs that it could fill.”
The purchase price, which Allen said had originally been $12 million, was negotiated down to $9 million, coming in at just over $18,000 an acre. The property is currently owned by Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate services firm based out of Chicago, Ill.
Mayor Rick Graham appeared receptive to the proposal, noting that the availability of land in Spring Hill is quickly diminishing.
“We know that available land in south Spring Hill - all of Spring Hill - is going to be gone in 20 years,” Graham said. “The things that we do today are going to impact the next 20, 30 years, so this is the kind of discussion that we really need to [have].”
Vice Mayor Wurth was less receptive of the proposal, citing a lack of information related to the potential uses for the property regarding future city facilities.
“So we have $18 million if not more now if we sell Northfield, and I don’t know what the purpose or what we would use this [land] for,” Wurth said. “We need a police station, we potentially will need fire stations, public works, so we’ve got a lot of needs, I’m just not sure this land serves any of those needs.”
Assuming the city were to continue to move forward on the purchase, city attorney Patrick Carter would work with attorneys of Cushman & Wakefield to develop a purchase contract. That process would take up until December, with city leaders then discussing the contract during the December city meetings.
Again, assuming the city moves forward on the purchase, a closing on the property could come as soon as March 2021, with the city still able to back out of the deal up to March 21, 2021.