2. Alexander Farms/Buckner Lane
Right now, the biggest project in the county, and perhaps also the most ambitious, is along Buckner Lane in Spring Hill.
The mixed-use project is a 775-acre, 20-year behemoth that could change Spring Hill’s economy forever if it builds out as planned. The developer, Southeast Venture, has had its project likened by city and business leaders alike as a potential “Cool Springs south.”
It could also expedite the arrival of a much-wanted I-65 interchange in Spring Hill.
“Right now, we have a request we are working on with TDOT and will be submitting to the Federal Highway Agency for an interchange on I-65 at Buckner Lane,” Chuck Downham, deputy city administrator for Spring Hill, said.
The developers have prioritized getting permission to construct an interchange. The project’s plans require an interchange before any of the office buildings can go up; because of this, they were put in the third phase of construction, slated for more than a decade from now.
However, Downham said, Southeast Venture has put all its focus on getting TDOT approval for the interchange, so far electing not to begin any planning requests for phase one of the project. Once TDOT gives the go-ahead to the submission draft, it can go on to Federal Highway Administration for approval. The current submittal is a newly-drafted proposal justifying the interchange. A previous submittal years ago went nowhere.
This one should have a much happier, and quicker, resolution.
“We expect the approval will come in the coming months,” Downham said.
“The interchange is a key element in this project for obvious reasons,” he said. “It provides a wonderful regional traffic solution, but also provides very direct access for office development that would go on the property.”
The city’s Board of Mayor and Alderman in May gave their final approval on rezoning that will allow the project to get started.
Southeast Venture presented plans that show phase one building out 159 single-family homes and 280,962 square feet of retail and restaurant space by 2021.
All told, the property at 2660 Buckner Lane will create 3.9 million square feet of office space, 1.3 million square feet of retail and restaurant space, 400 hotel rooms and 2,926 housing units over 20 years.
“Rezoning 775 acres in a coordinated, planned manner is totally new and different,” Alderman Matt Fitterer said.
He said that zoning structure set up by Spring Hill to manage such a huge project is modeled off the one used by Franklin for Berry Farms.
The land, bound by Buckner Lane on the west, Thompson’s Station Road on the north, Summit High School to the south and I-65 to the east, was rezoned from mix of agricultural and R-2 Medium Density Residential to a Planned Zoning District.
Southeast Venture plans break into five phases of development ending in 2037, with retail and residential areas building out first, followed by office space. As Mayor Rick Graham has said, this would essentially create a southern extension of Williamson County’s commercial hub.
Phase two plans for an additional 342 single-family homes, as well as 1,238 cottage, townhouse, multi-family homes. It would also contain another 751,410 square feet of retail and restaurant space by 2026.
Phases three through five would add 273 single-family homes; 914 multi-family homes; 530,452 square feet of retail and restaurant space; and 3,902,250 square feet of Class A office space and 400 hotel rooms by 2037.
A planning department report stated that phases three through five, because of traffic impacts, depend totally upon the building of an I-65 interchange at Buckner Lane.
Currently, the interchange needs federal funding and approval. It is not part of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s three-year plan, which updates annually as priority list for funding.
It’s also not on the state’s new project list, which identifies needs not currently under development. But TDOT has endorsed the Buckner interchange plan and forwarded it to the Federal Highway Administration for further review.
“The office component helps our chances but doesn’t assure it,” Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham said. “They will not build the office buildings if it is not approved, but I like our chances and so do the developers.”
The “vision” of the project, according to its request proposal, includes statements that the project will “be an inviting front door for Spring Hill from the Interstate; become a Class A employment center for Spring Hill and be a part of the regional traffic solution.”
Plans include a number of short, mid- and long-term road work needs, such as re-directing Buckner Lane, work on Thompson’s Station Road and an I-65 Buckner Road interchange. The level of funding the developer will provide will be worked out in the planning process.
How the site will build out is not specifically designed yet, but the project will follow principles and guidelines set out by the city’s Spring Hill Rising 2040 Plan.
The overlay includes allowances for up to 10-story buildings, and focuses on internally connected streets and higher density.
The project is one of the most ambitious mixed-use developments in the history of the county. It would outsize the near-billion dollar Ovation project in Cool Springs, which will have 950 residential units; 480,000 square feet of retail space; 1.4 million square feet of Class A office space and two hotels with a combined 450 rooms.
Cost for the project remains unknown.