Metro is considering amending the specific plan for the 65-acre former Starwood Amphitheatre property fronting Murfreesboro Pike — a move that could pave the way for the emergence of a smaller live music venue at the site.
At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard is sponsoring a bill that would allow previously approved uses associated with Starwood Amphitheatre to be temporarily permitted. After Starwood –– which had a 17,000-guest capacity, seating and lawn included –– closed in 2006, zoning of the Antioch-area property was converted to accommodate a proposed mixed-use development. But the project never materialized.
Maynard’s ordinance cleared the first of three votes at Tuesday’s council meeting. The bill has been referred to the Metro Planning Commission, which is set to consider the amendment on Thursday. The planning department’s staff has recommended approval, with the condition that a potential amphitheater be limited to 5,000 seats to ensure traffic doesn’t exceed the level Starwood concerts generated in the past.
The former Starwood property, located at 3839 Murfreesboro Pike near Old Hickory Boulevard, is owned by Vastland Realty Group, whose representatives first indicated in October they planned to pursue the addition of permitted uses to begin pitching the idea of a new music venue, along with other options.
“The intent ... is to have the zoning to allow [Vastland] to develop a smaller scale amphitheater, music venue at that particular site,” Maynard said.
Ken Renner, Vastland’s vice president of commercial sales and leasing, said the company hasn’t received any formal offers. He indicated Vastland isn’t necessarily committed to amphitheatre investors, pointing out that a new data center could also be an option for the property.
“This would give us the opportunity to go out and market the property for these uses and to entertain any offers,” Renner said of the proposed amendment. “Right now, if somebody came to us and said, ‘Boy, I’d like to build an amphitheater there or I’d like to build a data center there,’ we’d have to say, ‘No, we can’t.’ This would simply allow us to have those conversations.”
Renner said a new amphitheater at the property could be combined with retail. If Vastland were to eventually move toward the amphitheater concept, the live music venue would almost certainly be smaller than the old Starwood.
“I don’t think anyone is looking at using that whole 64-acre site for a big amphitheater,” Renner said. “The economics didn’t work before and probably wouldn’t work today. But doing some combination on the site of different uses may be a more viable alternative.”
Councilman Sam Coleman, who represents the surrounding Starwood area, would normally be the bill’s sponsor. But Coleman said he recused himself from sponsorship because he took campaign contributions from a principal of Vastland during his unsuccessful run for the District 60 state House seat.
If the planning commission approves the amendment on Thursday, Coleman said he would hold a community meeting before the bill goes before the council on second reading in January.
Coleman has already held several community meetings to discuss the Starwood property.