Developer Wins Incentives for $88M First Phase of Ambitious Freight House Project

The Freight House Village would include residential development and the renovation of the Superior Storage building into office space. (Rendering by BNIM)

(UPDATED: The PIEA board approved a 15-year property tax abatement to assist the residential component of the proposed Freight House Village project and a sales tax exemption on construction materials at its meeting today.

Developer Vince Bryant told the board the Freight House Village site currently pays about $45,000 annually in property taxes to the school district, library and other taxing jurisdictions.

During the 15-year life of the abatement, those jurisdictions will share $5.6 million in total new revenues and when it expires, begin sharing an estimated $922,000 annually based on the full value of the development.

A motion to limit the abatement term to 10 years failed before the board voted to approve the full 15-year abatement requested by the developer.

Bryant plans to create a community improvement district that will levy a one-cent additional sales tax when the project is built out.

The developer also will be asking the city to keep a portion of the earnings and sales taxes, known as economic activity taxes (EATs)  generated by the office and retail components of the project.)

By Kevin Collison

The developer of the proposed Freight House Village project, which would create office space in an old warehouse and build 230 residences, is seeking a 15-year property tax abatement to help finance the $87.7 million endeavor.

The redevelopment proposal by Vince Bryant of 3D Development for a 2.3-acre site along Walnut between 20th street and the KC Terminal railroad tracks is scheduled to be considered today by the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.

“The fact that this prime location is squarely inside the thriving Crossroads Arts District, and yet it has been overlooked for so long is surprising,” the developer said in his application to the PIEA.

“While there are some obsolete (yet maintained) rail rights on the edge of the district, this is a rare opportunity to transform the area, while also maintaining the character of the buildings and streets.

“As the developer, we envision an opportunity here that evokes both the Gulch
in Nashville and the character of TriBeCa in New York City.”

A view of the Freight House Village along Walnut Street looking south. (Rendering by BNIM)

Bryant first proposed the Freight House Village project as part of a larger $310 million Freight House Development plan about a year ago.

Ultimately, he wants to transform a roughly two-block area into a mixed-use development that would include an 18-story office tower and nine-story hotel along the Main viaduct and the streetcar line, as well as the Freight House Village residential area.

The most prominent component of Bryant’s Freight House master plan would be a $150 million building fronting about 400 feet along the Main viaduct. It would combine a 210,000 square-foot office tower, called “The Podium,” and 150-room hotel.

The Freight House Village project would include renovating the Superior Moving and Storage buildings at 2020 Walnut into 62,670 square feet of office space and about 20,000 square feet of retail space.

The market-rate apartment development would include 43 studio units, 145 one-bedroom and 42 two-bedroom. Twelve row home also are being proposed.

Monthly rents for an average 475 square-foot studio would be $1,090; a 649 square-foot, one-bedroom, $1,140, and a 755-square foot, two bedroom, $1,692, according to the PIEA application.

Developer Vince Bryant plans to renovate the old Superior Moving & Storage buildings into office space.

The Freight House Village proposal includes a 322-space garage that would serve not only residents but office users and retail customers. It also would provide 48 spaces to replace parking lost by residents of the Western Auto condo building.

Bryant is seeking a 15-year property tax abatement, 75 percent for 10 years and 37.5 percent for five years, from the PIEA to help finance the residential plan. He also is asking for a community improvement district that would add a one-cent sales tax.

Even with the abatement, the property would yield about $5.6 million in new property taxes for the school district, library and other taxing jurisdictions, according to an analysis by S.B. Friedman, a private consultant that evaluates tax incentive deals for the city.

Bryant is seeking a partner to help develop the residential component of the project and has had interest from several large national developers, according to the PIEA application.

The timetable filed with the agency calls for a spring 2022 start with completion in 2023.

The Freight House Village proposal would be along Walnut street from 20th to the railroad tracks in the highlighted area. (Map from PIEA application)

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  1. This is a no-brainer approval process. Additional property tax of $5.6 million, new office, new residential, a possible new hotel, and the elimination of vacant blocks in the crossroads district should let this overwhelmingly pass approval steps. We need as many developments like this as we can get.

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