By Aarron Fleming
The Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen has voted to enter into a purchase agreement for a plot of land on Main Street that could be home to a new, three-story parking garage in the near future.
The vote kickstarted a four-month inspection period included in the agreement during which the city will survey the land before taking a final vote to decide whether to purchase it and build the parking garage.
While Monday night’s vote was primarily to initiate the study of the land, the town must put down $25,000 in earnest money.
The town is not obligated to finalize the purchase should the inspection period yield less-than-desirable results.
If Collierville decides not to purchase the land before the inspection period is over, the town’s money will be returned.
The total cost of the parking garage comes to nearly $1.2 million.
To pay for it, the town has proposed using a tax increment financing plan (TIF).
That TIF plan is a big part of the study that will now take place over the next few months.
According to the purchase agreement, the town will issue bonds to pay for the garage in hopes that the TIF plan will generate enough revenue to repay them.
If the TIF plan is not approved, or if estimated revenues from the TIF plan are not enough to repay the bonds, the city can back out of the deal.
Other facets of the study will include developing construction plans to assess preliminary costs, subdivision of the property, financing information, and most importantly for Collierville residents, public hearings on the project.
“There are two sides to this issue, but we are one community,” said Mayor Stan Joyner.
The potential addition of a parking garage and hotel has worried some residents that it will lead to crime and ruin the look and feel of the Historic Town Square.
Several businesses are also currently in the way of the construction area for the hotel that Frank Fitzgerald plans to build next to the garage.
He currently has four tenants in those buildings: Kaz’s Main Street Garage, Mitchell’s Barbershop, Southern Farmhouse and Trinity Church PCA.
To make room for the hotel he plans to demolish the buildings that house the businesses, according to the purchase agreement.
One business, Southern Farmhouse, is permanently closed and Trinity Church PCA has only been a tenant in the building since last year.
The other two, however, have done business on Main Street for decades.
Mitchell’s Barber Shop, owned by Paula Mitchell, has been Collierville’s leading flat top haircut specialist since 1950, providing residents with haircuts and hot shaves when they need it.
Kaz’s Main Street Garage, owned by Don Kasmerez, has had a shorter run but has been servicing vehicles in Collierville for the last 20 years.
Kasmerez, Mitchell and Hunter Brewer, pastor at Trinity Church PCA, all declined to comment for this article.
Outside of the businesses that stand in the way of the hotel’s development, Fitzgerald also faces another snag: construction on the hotel can’t begin until the garage is complete.
The purchase agreement states that garage needs a clear, defined space to be built on which is why the hotel must wait until it is done.
To ease residents that have voiced concerns about the problems that the developments could bring, Joyner reminded them that the vote was only to start the inspection period and study the plot of land.
“We will investigate whether the site is appropriate,” Joyner said Monday. “We will hold public hearings.”