By VINCE TROIA
Plans for a 94-unit townhome and 170-bed hotel development for Bellevue advanced this week after they were approved on second reading by Metro Council.
During a marathon meeting that ended close to 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the council voted unanimously following a public hearing for the 29.6-acre mixed use development primarily in the hills above Old Hickory Boulevard and Sonya Drive near Interstate 40. No one spoke in support of, or in opposition to, the proposal at the hearing.
The bulk of the acreage would become the residential townhome component, which initially was planned as an apartment complex — something residents close to the site did not want.
A zoning change was approved to accommodate the mixed-use site plan concept for all four parcels on the site. The mixed-use development incorporates 18,000 square feet of commercial or office space on Old Hickory Boulevard, and the hotel up the hillside, with access from OHB.
District 22 representative Sheri Weiner introduced the bill (BL2019-1678). The plan underwent several revisions after Weiner hosted a pair of community meetings with area residents, first in October 2018 and tgen in February of this year.
“After community meetings with neighbors, the one change that was apparent was changing the residential component from rental apartments to for-purchase townhomes,” Weiner said. At the same time, the scope of the project was reduced by two acres, according to the Metro Planning Department.
Owner and developer of the projects is the consortium AM Investors No. 2, LLC, Norwood Manor, LLC, Southfield Properties Limited Partnership, of Brentwood.
If given final approval by Metro Council at its July 16 meeting, the first phase of the project -— building the residential units — could begin.
According to the project’s landscape architect, Barge Design Solutions, Inc., it is anticipated that the other two phases of the development, the hotel and lastly, the commercial buildings, will follow in that order. Details about the hotel chain identity or the other parcels are not known at this time.
This area of Bellevue, especially near I-40, has experienced several changes in recent years, including the closing of Sam’s Club and a Waffle House restaurant — entry into the hotel and commercial properties will be on the sites that formerly housed Salon 618 and the Waffle House.
New traffic signals are proposed at the entrance, directly across from the access road to Sonic Drive-In and the old Sam’s Club, creating a new four-way intersection. A sidewalk to Sonya Drive and an easement for the WeGo 24x bus stop are also planned.
This project would bring the third major residential neighborhood to the dead-end Sonya Drive access road, joining Grand View Apartments and the Highlands at Stonecrest townhomes. In its development proposal to Metro Planning Department, Barge Design representatives said that the plan amendment “seeks to address trends by providing desired housing, restaurants and other appropriate uses for this area.”
Increased traffic volume is not new to the area, and several years ago, a traffic light and crosswalk were installed at Sonya Drive and OHB after a young girl (a resident of Grand View) was seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle as she attempted to cross Old Hickory Boulevard.
According to Metro planners, the proposed project is in step with the NashvilleNext Growth and Preservation Map, and the Bellevue Community Plan, adopted in 2015. Also, FEMA confirmed that the parcels are not in any floodplains or floodways.
Plans for two other new hotels along OHB are either approved or pending approval, joining two new hotel properties opening soon in One Bellevue Place on Highway 70 South.