TRC Construction Services began exterior demolition work on some structures at 123 E. College beginning Friday, July 16, 2021, as initial preparation phases for construction of a highly anticipated mixed-use development gets underway. The One East College, LLC mixed-use development will be constructed on 2.42 acres along East College, North Spring Street, East Lytle Street, and North College Street. Interior demolition work had begun in January 2020.
Brian Davis, president and C.O.O. of TRC Construction Services, Inc., stated that as part of demolition and to be in compliance with safety protocol, “We will close some City street parking spaces in phases. Each phase will require closure of some parking with spaces reopening upon completion of the phase. We will make every effort to close as few spaces as possible.”
The exterior demolition is expected to take approximately eight weeks and will be completed in three phases. Phase 1 will be demolition of the one-story building located at 123 E. College Street, a separate building from the original 1888 historic First United Methodist Church. Phase 2 will remove the north half of a two-story structure, the Education Wing of the former Church. Phase 3 will remove the south half of the same two-story structure, an addition to the original 1888 church building that formerly housed Franklin Synergy Bank. Two corner stones (1910, 1955) will be removed and given to First United Methodist Church along with a 1955 time capsule.
The original church and bell tower will be renovated and remain to be incorporated into the redevelopment. Construction on the new buildings for the mixed-use development is not expected until the first half of 2022, following construction plan development and approval.
The mixed-use project will include restoration of the church and bell tower as part of the overall restaurant, office, retail, and housing mixed-use space. A public parking garage is also planned for the project. The City, County, and Industrial Development Board approved a Tax Increment Financing package to assist with increasing public parking available in the parking garage in the vicinity of the historic downtown Square and the new Rutherford County Judicial Building.
Due to the Covid-pandemic, however, original plans for a 110-unit hotel were amended with Council approval, May 20, 2021, into one-bedroom/studio units that could be converted to a boutique hotel if the opportunity presents itself.
Located on property previously owned by the City of Murfreesboro, the City finalized closing on the land sale June 28, 2019, with One East College, LLC. to cultivate a design consistent with the historic character of the site.
Redevelopment of the former Franklin Synergy site is expected to revitalize downtown Murfreesboro by adding significant commercial, retail, and residential properties into the downtown area. Over the long-term, the mixed-use development will substantially increase the assessed value of the site, which will enhance City and County property and sales tax revenues.
Although the church sanctuary is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, nor is it located in the City’s historic district, City and community leaders sought to keep the bell tower preserved as part of the historic downtown landscape. The former First United Methodist Church building served the congregation there until 2003.
Preserving historic elements of downtown is seen as a lucrative aspect of future redevelopment and maintaining Murfreesboro’s character.