I'm so not impressed with Mr. Narvel Blackstock's editorial in this morning's Tennessean newspaper. In fact I had to laugh at his calling Miss Joy Ford of Country International Records an 'out-of-county resident' in his desperate effort to garner support for condemning her legally owned property as if we'd forget that developer Lionstone is a Houston, Texas business. A quick search of the Nashville tax rolls fails to bring up any property Blackstock, his Starstruck Entertainment or his wife Reba McEntire own in Davidson County. Last I heard they lived in Gallatin, Los Angeles and Oklahoma. They did own some Davidson County property though:
Lionstone's plans for the three-acre site they acquired from Reba McEntire in March 2006 include development of a 125-room hotel with an adjacent 100-unit luxury high-rise residential condominium tower. [via AllBusiness]
I'll grant that in 1999 that strip of Demonbreun was a mess and needed major improvement. Blackstock and his partners have done yeoman's work in improving it. But that was then, this is now. The only blight on this corner is Lionstone's failure to keep their property neat. A neat but empty lot does not equal blight.
The owner refuses to sell her seldom-used building or even to meet with the developer to discuss alternatives. She says she is holding it because it was used to produce music."...it was used to produce music." So was Studio B just down the street on 17th Avenue. That excuse was good enough for the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Personally, I don't care why she's holding out. It's her property. The taxes are paid and her business isn't a public nuisance. It's a private nuisance to people who had big plans to renew the entire area but are now realizing that having been very successful in that effort thus far find that their 'blight' is gone and cannot/should not be used as sufficient reason to steal Miss Joy's property. They are victims of their own success, so to speak. So, now, they need to redraw their plans and decide just what they can do with what's available to them. There is enough land without Miss Joy's to still make a tidy profit.
My biggest concern, and it should be the concern of Blackstock as well, is that with their reasoning the city can steal anyone's property and we've no recourse. What if Gallatin or LA decided that the Blackstock homes were more valuable to the tax roles as tourist meccas and condemned them? Blackstock implores us, for the love of Music Row, to stand with him against Miss Joy. No. I'll stand on the side of property rights especially now that I understand that if Music Row won't stand with Miss Joy, one of their own---they're sure not going to be there when they come for my house.
BTW: This issue has caught the attention of CastleWatch which tracks eminent domain abuse.