The U.S. government will request the downtown site of the proposed federal courthouse be given final approval to create one lot on the property, the next step in what has become a 10-year process.
The Metro Planning Commission’s Feb. 24 agenda lists the request.
Rep. Jim Cooper, who represents Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District (which includes downtown), has tried to fast-track the project over the years. Peter Boogaard, Cooper’s spokesman, said he had no information regarding funding for the project. However, Boogaard said that information could be available in a few weeks.
Listed as Parcel No. 22 in the planning commission document and containing multiple parcels, the 3.36-acre site is bordered by Church Street on the north, Commerce Street on the south, Rosa Parks Boulevard (Eighth Avenue North) on the west, and Seventh Avenue North on the east. The site does not include the land on which is located the historic Berger Building. The General Services Administration is overseeing the project, a rendering and details for which were released in early 2001.
The Metro Planning Department has no specific information regarding the request, which includes Nashville-based surveyor Thornton & Associates Inc.
“The application is a standard lot combination request and says nothing about the applicant’s intent,” said Craig Owensby, Metro Planning Department spokesman.
A Thornton & Associates Inc. official declined comment. GSA officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
In 1992, the federal government deemed inadequate the Estes Kefauver Federal Courthouse, located at Seventh and Broadway.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has a system for analyzing the need for courthouses based on various factors, including the number of trials held there, the general safety and post-9/11 security of the building, and the ability to conduct a proper trial there.
According to a Government Accountability Office report released in May, more than a quarter of the overall space in the 33 courthouses built since 2000 is excessive, and 27 exceed the size authorized by Congress when their funding was appropriated.