Crossville City Council received an offer on the site it developed in 2018. But the offer fell short of expectations for the 20-acre site in Interchange Business Park.
“The offer is for $1.2 million,” Crossville Mayor James Mayberry told council during its business session on Tuesday. “This property when we were working on developing it, the proposal at the time was for future industry to come to town.”
The initial parameters called for an industry that would employ 100 or more people with wages 10% above the prevailing wage rate.
Mayberry estimated a workforce of 10 to 20 employees for a distribution center.
City Manager Greg Wood said another party was actively reviewing the site, with four or five requests for information. There have been two site visits since the property was developed.
Mayberry said: “Most of the inquiries we receive are for larger properties, and most are looking for an existing building.”
When it comes to salaries, Mayberry said the discussion is “a whole different ballgame now” compared to five years ago.
“And the abundance of potential employees is questionable,” he added.
The council must decide if they want to sell the property and, if so, if they want to accept the offer or make a counter-offer.
“Or don’t sell it and sit back and hope to attract an industry,” Mayberry said.
Mayberry said he was “ripped”.
“I’ll hire someone tomorrow,” he said of his local furniture company. Other industries also need workers, with above-average wages and benefits.
The site was developed by the City and County of Cumberland. The 20-acre property includes a build pad that can accommodate a facility of over 200,000 square feet. The city and county each contributed $250,000, plus $500,000 from a state grant.
The site was named a Select Tennessee Certified Site in 2018.
At first the property was marketed at $100,000 per acre for the 20 acres. They dropped the asking price to $40,000 per acre in 2019.
Councilor Scot Shanks said he had no objection to the price quoted.
“My problem is what is it for?” he said. “It doesn’t matter the price if it’s big enough.”
Councilor Rob Harrison said of the original goals: “They were good goals then, and they still are good goals.”
City Attorney Will Ridley said he would contact the prospect for a written offer before the April 12 council meeting.
This meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Also on the agenda will be an order on building code appeals; repealing an ordinance prohibiting fortune-telling in the city; purchases for water, sewer and maintenance services; bid for a network security audit; subsidies for the purchase of body-worn cameras; a bid for a downtown cultural and historical study for the upcoming sidewalk project and a license agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for the sidewalk project; various grant applications for projects at Crossville Memorial Airport; and a grant application for $600,000 for a community development block grant for the construction of a greenway.
Prior to the business session, council held a brief special meeting where it approved second reading of a moratorium on signal permits to allow time for a signal committee to make recommendations on updates and revisions to the City’s Signage Ordinance. The current order includes content-based regulations, which Ridley says fall short of constitutional standards.
The board postponed action on a request from the Roane State Community College Foundation for funding to help with an upcoming renovation.
The state has approved a $2 million expansion project to build a flexible lab on the Cumberland County campus.
The lab would allow students to further complete their county class requirements, particularly in subjects such as chemistry, biology, anatomy, and physiology.
Currently, about 50 students each year from Cumberland County must travel to another campus for lab classes.
The state has earmarked $1.7 million for the project, including $300,000 to be raised through private fundraising through the foundation.
As design work for the expansion began, the project was expanded by 600 square feet which, with additional classroom renovation, would allow for an on-campus nursing lab.
This increased the cost of the project by $150,000.
The foundation requested $150,000 from the city and will request the same amount from the county. The rest of the funds and equipment needed for the nursing lab, estimated at $220,000, would come from university and private donors.
The city provides funds to nonprofits, but those requests are made during the annual budgeting process, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks.
The board said it would consider the request when considering other nonprofits.