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Apartments ready to rise
Nov 16, 2012 4:00 pm
The landscape is quickly changing at the future site of Hamilton Springs in Lebanon.
Pavement is down on the main boulevard off U.S. 70 about three miles east of Highway 109. The boulevard will serve as the main entrance to Hamilton Station apartments.
“We have 396 apartments just getting ready to go vertical,” said Jack Bell, who is developing the site with his brother, Rick Bell.
Developers and city officials envision a mixed-use development that will ultimately feature commercial retail, apartments and condos and a train depot servicing the Music City Star commuter rail.
The property is approved for up to 2,500 residential units, but Bell does not foresee reaching that capacity.
Bell said similar developments in the Charlotte, N.C., Fort Worth, Texas, areas – as well as in Nashville and Franklin – are serving as inspiration for the planned development.
In Nashville, you have Lennox Square, and it would be a lot like Westhaven, as well,” said Bell. “But we are the first one that actually has a train.”
Bell said the mixed-use design and the transit tie-in were responses to the recent economic downturn and changes in home-buying habits of young families.
“We started originally about six years ago with more of a traditional subdivision,” said Bell. “We decided we needed to regroup, so we came at it from a different direction.”
Hamilton Station will offer higher-end apartments for rent, but the units will not be available for individual purchase, according to Bell.
“With the density, you can get a better price point,” said Bell.
Bell, who was involved in the development of Hancock Place, Iroquois and Willow Creek, said the Hamilton Springs project is unique for a variety of reasons, including the community response to the project.
“This is the first time that everybody that I’ve talked to in the community has been positive about a new development,” said Bell. “I’ve not had one complaint from people in the community.”
As a Lebanon native, Bell has a legacy to consider.
“It’s a large investment for us, but it’s also more of a pride thing,” said Bell. “We want to make a positive impact on the community. We’re not looking to make a quick buck and get out of town.”
The development is positioned to make lasting changes to the city as a whole.
“I think as it builds out over a number of years, you’re going to get a dense population shifting west, versus downtown, like it is now,” said Bell.
Despite the inevitable changes the development would make in the city, the designs still take into consideration the current character of the city.
“Obviously, we’re not urban here,” said Bell. “But it’s an urban touch to a suburban setting.”
Staff writer Sara McManamy-Johnson can be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 16 or firstname.lastname@example.org.