At a city commission meeting Monday night, the Mt. Juliet Board of Commissioners voted to approve a multi-use development in Providence.
The Providence Central project is a mixed-use development on nearly 250 acres and includes 310 apartment units in addition to the 209 existing units of Creekside at Providence, which is also part of the development. The dual brand Tru/Hilton Hotel is also part of the project and is under construction.
The project would bring road and infrastructure improvements to Providence Parkway, Central Pike, Adams Lane and surrounding areas. An interchange at Central Pike and Interstate 40 is already in the works with Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), which would alleviate some traffic from the development and Mt. Juliet Road.
Other proposed commercial uses for the development include retail, hotels, an assisted living facility and office space.
Commissioner Jennifer Milele, whose district includes the location of Providence Central, said that if Mt. Juliet passed on the development, it would move down the road toward Lebanon, leaving the city with nothing but traffic.
“This happened to Brentwood when Franklin built on. Brentwood passed and got nothing but traffic with no traffic relief,” said Milele. “I don’t want Mt. Juliet to be another Brentwood.”
According to Milele, approving the development would be a sign to TDOT that Mt. Juliet views the I-40/Central Pike interchange as a high priority and would treat it as such.
Some concerns voiced by citizens, and echoed by commissioners, were about the development’s impact on traffic.
Commissioner Ray Justice was concerned the project would add to current problems and safety issues in Providence, saying, “When you ignore the history or you don’t know the history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”
“We have to take this stuff into consideration,” said Justice. “It’s called safety, and that is the primary reason for a government to exist, to protect the citizens, and we’re ignoring that.”
Throughout the discussion, the board voted on 12 amendments to the project. Some amendments include a voluntary contribution of $2,500 per single family home and $1,000 per apartment unit, attached garages on select residences, and additional buffering on the perimeter of the development.
In an effort to address the possibility of increased traffic, the board approved an amendment stating that no certificates of occupancy on apartments could be granted until the Interstate 40/Mt. Juliet Road bridge widening project is complete and open to traffic. Another amendment stated the Providence Parkway improvements would also need to be completed prior to the first certificate of occupancy.
The board ultimately voted 3-2 to approve the Providence Central planned unit development, with Commissioners Justice and Art Giles voting against. The project will continue to meet before the board and the planning commission, including presenting the final master development plan.