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With the exponential growth Spring Hill has experienced over the past decade, the City of Spring Hill has long outgrown its current municipal building spaces and has been preparing for expansion in recent years by budgeting for new building projects.
However, a unique, new opportunity recently presented itself and the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) has decided to seize it, allowing for major expansion of City of Spring Hill building spaces while saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
The BOMA on Oct. 16, 2017, approved a resolution to pursue the purchase of the Workforce Development & Conference Center at Northfield with an offer of $8,180,000. The two-story, 355,000-square-foot office building at 5000 Northfield Lane, which recently came on the sale market, is about a mile southwest of City Hall, off Saturn Parkway and U.S. 31. The seven connected buildings on 38 acres that make up Northfield currently serves a wide range of lease tenants, including satellite locations of college and technical school programs, two call centers, the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce, among other offices, with extensive unfilled office space. The real estate listing price was $13 million.
Until about a month earlier, the City’s original plans were to expand the Spring Hill Public Library from its current 17,000 square feet to 41,000 square feet, and to build a new Police Headquarters up to 39,000 square feet on the vacant, City-owned lot adjacent to City Hall at an estimated $9 million each. The SHPD headquarters currently functions out of leased office space in south Spring Hill.
“Northfield can be purchased for less than half the combined $18 million cost of constructing new library and police buildings, and we will be getting five times the space at Northfield as we would from those two projects,” City Administrator Victor Lay said. “You could almost consider this cost-neutral due to the income already coming in from the existing lease-space tenants in the building. It is very much a win-win-win for the City.”
The building also presents an opportunity to save additional funds on the $2 million anticipated for the future expansion of City Hall, and on the $400,000 currently budgeted to purchase land 30 miles south of Spring Hill for a Spring Hill Police training facility. That money would be saved by building the training facility on the Northfield property.
“Our future growth is south. That’s what we have to look at today and for our future,” said Alderman Amy Wurth, who chairs the Budget & Finance Advisory Committee that recommended the purchase. “The amount that this purchase will save us long-term is an opportunity that we’ve never seen. I’m excited about it and I think it’s a good use of taxpayer money. We’re saving millions and millions of dollars.”
The City will have 60 days to complete due diligence, including conducting an environmental analysis, land surveys, and reviewing current lease agreements. The City must close on the sale by Feb. 15, 2018. If the purchase is finalized, the BOMA will later determine which City facilities will be relocated to Northfield, along with the future use of the existing City Hall and library. Northfield will require renovations, which likely will be funded as part of a larger bond issue in the 2018-19 budget, but at a much lesser cost than new construction.
Northfield, which includes a 100-seat auditorium and a 200-seat conference center, was originally the Saturn automotive headquarters when the automaker located to Spring Hill over 30 years ago. It was used to train Saturn auto mechanics and sales representatives for dealerships, and hold corporate meetings. The building was sold after Saturn’s headquarters moved to Detroit in 2007, and a few years later GM halted all new production of Saturn in 2009 and discontinued the Saturn brand in 2010.
The building is currently owned by the South Central Tennessee Development District, which works with local governments and businesses to provide community and economic development programs; provide support services for the aging and those with disabilities; and provide public transportation services, governed by a board of public officials and legislators from a 13-county region, including Mayor Graham.
For more information about existing facilities at Northfield, visit https://northfieldworks.com/facilities.