Property owners on Bells Bend opposed to a proposed $4 billion development there have hired former Deputy Gov. Dave Cooley to help fend off the project.
Cooley is part of an A-list of lobbyists and public relations consultants opponents of May Town Center have hired.
In addition to Cooley, the group consists of Jane Alvis, a former Purcell administration official; Bo Johnson, a long-time lobbyist whose client list has included Nissan, First Tennessee and McDonald’s Corp. and Keel Hunt, who has worked with the Ingrams and their company for years.
Cooley had been deputy mayor when Bredesen was mayor of Nashville. During his tenure, Bells Bend had been the location for a proposed landfill, a major battle at the time. He said a strategy for opposing the development is being created now.
“I think it will be a good discussion on where the city needs to go,” he said.
Nashville’s May family, which has a large real estate portfolio here, has proposed a high-density mixed-use development on 423 acres of the Bells Bend property while preserving 900 acres for green space. A key element is a bridge over the Cumberland River connecting with Interstate 40.
There are neighbors in the area who don’t want to the development and would prefer keeping the area as is.
The Mays formed their own team, hiring developer Tony Giarratana as a consultant along with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis attorneys and lobbyists James Weaver and Tom Jurkovich and Seigenthaler Public Relations.
“In May Town Center, our aim is to provide needed economic development for Davidson County, while preserving vast areas of green space and recreational opportunity,” said Jurkovich, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development under Purcell.
“Surely we can do both, and to suggest otherwise underestimates what we can accomplish as a community,” Jurkovich said.