MDHA to Appeal Jury Decision on Convention Center Property Dispute

The city of Nashville is trying to avoid paying what a jury considers full price for a former parking lot in the footprint of city’s new convention center.

The Metro Development and Housing Agency announced plans Thursday to appeal a ruling from last week. Jurors said the city should have paid Tower Investments twice the $15 million purchase price.

In a statement, MDHA executive director Phil Ryan calls the $30 million appraisal “grossly inflated.”

Tower Investments purchased the property three years ago, knowing the site was a preferred location for a convention center. MDHA spokesperson Julie Oaks says it’s hard to believe the value doubled since that time amid a recession.

“We do not feel that the public is being served by essentially handing these real estate investors millions of dollars on the backs of the public.”

The jury that landed on the $30 million price tag was made up of what MDHA calls “laypeople.” Previously, a panel of real estate experts valued the property at roughly $16 million, much closer to MDHA’s original estimate.

There are two other pending eminent domain cases related to the city’s new convention center, which is nearly half built. The Tower outcome is expected to have an impact on those cases.

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