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Project Sam passes first reading at Mt. Juliet city commission

Project Sam

Project Sam, a 3.6 million square foot warehouse and office space proposed along Golden Bear Gateway, had its first appearance before the Mt. Juliet city commission Monday. The item previously received a unanimous positive recommendation to the Board of Commissioners from the Mt. Juliet planning commission at its meeting held last week.

The company proposing to build Project Sam in Mt. Juliet is not yet known to the public. The project proposes a 5-story, 3.6 million square foot warehouse and office facility on approximately 80 acres at the corner of Golden Bear Gateway and East Division Street. The office space will utilize 80,000 square feet of the facility with the remaining space reserved for the warehouse.

A point of contention between the developers and the commission was that of the building materials. According to city code, the exterior walls of all buildings in industrial districts shall be made of brick, stone, tilt-up concrete or precast concrete and that “architectural metal, metal panels and other materials composed of metal shall be prohibited.”

Wilson County Commissioner Bobby Franklin, who also serves on the planning commission, said that the ordinance didn’t anticipate a 5-story brick building of this magnitude. The developer said the exterior walls will not be entirely metal, rather it would be 50-50 metal to concrete.

An amendment to extend an acceleration lane from the East Division onramp to Golden Bear Gateway all the way to Athlete’s Way was unanimously approved by the board.

Another amendment to have the development’s five acre site on the east side of Golden Bear Gateway be used for a trailhead and parking lot donated to the city was also unanimously approved.

A third amendment was approved that would limit the employee access on Golden Bear Gateway to a right-in/right-out only.

A fourth amendment was approved 3-1-1 that says the developer will construct a 10-foot greenway trail that carries northbound to the bridge. District 1 Commissioner Ray Justice took issue with the amendment, saying the greenway extends past the project’s property so the developer should not have to cover that.

Mayor Ed Hagerty suggested another amendment that calls on the developer to build a right turn lane onto Golden Bear Gateway from Lebanon Road. Again, Justice had concerns that this would be an overreach by the city as the project is about five miles from the intersection in question. Hagerty countered, saying the traffic impact from the project would necessitate the turn lane. The amendment ultimately failed.

After much discussion and approved amendments to the ordinance, the commission voted unanimously to approve first reading of the preliminary development plan for Project Sam. It will come back before the board at the Oct. 28 meeting.

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