Metro Council delays decision on $20.3M land purchase

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  • The council delayed action on buying 88 Hermitage Ave. for $20.3 million.
  • Council members had concerns over renovation costs.
  • In 2019, the council voted against buying the property for $14.4 million.t
  • Mayor John Cooper, then an at-large council member, voted against buying it.

Metro Council on Thursday deferred a decision on whether to purchase a $20.3 million plot of land on Hermitage Avenue to incorporate into the public park system amid concerns over unknown renovation costs.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper included $20 million in his October capital spending plan for the purchase of state-owned property at 88 Hermitage Ave., the site of the former Tennessee School for the Blind.

Cooper’s administration has indicated the former school’s historic structure could represent an opportunity for adaptive reuse, though what that would be is unclear.

Council member Courtney Johnston said she could not support buying the property, which will likely require mitigation for lead-based paint and asbestos as well as extensive building repairs.

“This is a multi, multi-million renovation to restore this property, and we don’t even know what we’re going to use it for,” Johnston said.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper's October 2021 capital spending plan includes a proposal to purchase state-owned land at 88 Hermitage Ave. for $20 million. Cooper voted against purchasing the plot (highlighted in red) for $11.3 million in 2019 for use as a site for a new high school.

Many councilmembers questioned why the land wasn’t purchased sooner at a lower price.

Cooper voted against purchasing the property for $11.3 million in 2019 when he was an at-large Metro Council member. Former Mayor David Briley moved to buy the land for Metro Nashville Public Schools, which intended to demolish the Tennessee School for the Blind to build a new high school.

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