CLARKSVILLE — The Town of Clarksville has taken a major step toward redevelopment in South Clarksville by approving the purchase of the former Marathon property on Center Street.

At a special meeting Tuesday, the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously to approve the $3.9 million purchase agreement between the commission and Marathon Petroleum Company LP for roughly 24 acres at what was once an industrial bulk storage site.

The deal will not be finalized until Marathon signs the agreement, which is expected within the next 30 to 45 days. 

Marathon has completed environmental site work, including removing the old storage tanks, and town officials expect to gain control of the property by the end of the year and immediately begin working to partner with developers for future plans.

"This has been something we've talked about for years," Redevelopment Commission President A.D. Stonecipher said during the meeting. "To even have a deal with a company of this magnitude takes a lot of work, a lot of diligence."

The company, which ceased operations in 2009 and later decommissioned the tanks on the property, has for several years caught the eye of town officials interested in seeing it come to new life as part of the South Clarksville Redevelopment plan. That plan, adopted by the town in 2016, identified areas along Woerner Avenue, the riverfront and the former Marathon property as ones which could be redeveloped for tourism, retail and residential.

The land, north of the flood wall, connects to Woerner Avenue, a site already under construction for road improvements with $50 million in private redevelopment partnerships scheduled for completion in 2021 — a mixed use apartment and commercial project along Woerner, and the future completion of the Aloft Hotel in the former Colgate building.

"Redevelopment of [the Marathon property] will generate hundreds of new jobs and a range of residential opportunities that will collectively raise millions in new tax revenue for the community," according to a news release. The land will be purchased by the redevelopment commission at roughly $160,000 per acre; the funds coming from Tax Increment Financing dollars.

When finalized, it will be the largest chunk of land acquired by the town since the annexation of a portion of Hamburg in the 1990s, and will give the town an asset advantage when looking for partnerships in development. Stonecipher said it took the redevelopment and planning staff and commission working together with the property owner over several years.

"This is a huge leap forward for moving the South Clarksville Redevelopment plan into reality," Stonecipher said. "Whether it's a government entity or private developer, the larger pad of real estate that you can assemble, the more options you have.

"This gives the town the ability to try to implement the original vision of the redevelopment plan."

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