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H.G. Hill pulls out of Brentwood town center project

The H.G. Hill Realty Company announced today that it is pulling the plug on the high-profile “town center”-styled development in Brentwood.
The 17-acre project that has been under development for more than 20 months would have been anchored on multiple properties on the southwest corner of the intersection at Maryland Way and Franklin Road. It would have featured a nearly one million square feet of residential, hotel, retail, restaurant and business space.

In a tersely worded letter to Brentwood Mayor Paul Webb, Vice Mayor Rod Freeman and five city commissioners, H.G. Hill Realty Co., LLC, CEO James W. Granbery described the Streets of Brentwood project as one that “was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” But an “apparent change in the City’s [sic] long-term vision for a ‘Town Center’ at this location,” made the project financially untenable.

“Our companies have invested thousands of hours and millions of dollars based on the city’s stated desire for a town center,” Granbery wrote. “Based on our analysis of the requested revised proposal, we have determined that the current situation is simply too volatile, and the financial risk of the requested revisions simply too great, to continue to proceed with The Streets project.”

Kirk Bednar, Brentwood city manager, said the city itself did not ask for changes.

“I don’t think the city formally asked for anything,” Bednar said. “I think there was input from the community and the city commissioners, but there was never any formal input from the city itself.”

The project was scheduled for a final vote by the commission on Feb. 25.

“We did not come to our decision lightly or without serious reflection,” Granbery wrote. “On a personal level, the decision, while clearly and sadly the right one, is disappointing to George (Tomlin, president and CEO of GBT Realty) and me. H.G. Hill has been a part of the Brentwood community for over 30 years. We will remain part your business community, and a significant landowner in the city, even after this decision.”

Granbery said the city's "recent apprehension about moving forward with the project as originally proposed” led to discussions about, among other things, “recent concerns about the project from a small, but admittedly loud, segment of the community and our neighbors in Meadowlake (subdivision).”

The project’s residential component drew fire from citizens, largely over concerns of the strains new residents could add to an already stressed school system.

“(The developers) heard from a lot of citizens about the impact the residential community could have on the schools,” Webb said. “The community has been very excited about the residential component in a negative way. The multi-family component was always a concern.”

Granbery indicated in the letter that some who voiced opposition to the project did so in an underhanded fashion, but did not elaborate.

“The underlying motives and the sources of a massive amount of intentional misinformation circulating about the project, and it’s perceived ‘impacts,’ and, most importantly, the economic realities of your requested changes to the development program,” he wrote.

Posted on: 2/15/2013


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