LEBANON, Tenn. - The city of Lebanon announced plans Wednesday to build a retail and office center just off Interstate 40. It will be called the Cumberland Center and could create up to 3,200 jobs.
Mayor Philip Craighead made the announcement at the Roxy Theatre.
Nashville's Vastland Realty Group also known as VRG plans to build on the property between Highway 231 and Cainsville Road in two phases.
When finished it could be the largest retail development between Nashville and Knoxville.
VRG Vice President Larry Frankenbach said, "If we can realize that whole vision over the next decade or so then we've got a power center on steroids."
The first phase will include a one million square foot retail center along with 500,000 square feet of office space on 700 acres. The first retail tenant will be RCC Western Wear.
Second phase will be to expand east and build an entertainment district, which will include a community events center which will include a hockey arena.
The $40 million event center will have 6,500 seats and can hold two sheets of ice.
Developers hope to land a minor league CHL hockey team.
CHL President Rich Kozuback said he believes they can bring a hockey team to the facility.
Kozuback said, "Our involvement is to bring a professional hockey team to the community. We believe whole heartedly the community will support it thanks to the wonderful success that the Predators have had and they growth they've developed in this community and the community surrounding Nashville. "
Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said the team would likely affiliate with a CHL team if it came to Lebanon.
Cogen also said, "It's a good brand of hockey. It's affordable and you know if we can get somebody 35 miles outside of Nashville, Tennessee coming to a game they're going to go home and watch us on TV and pretty soon little Johnny is going to be asking mommy to take him to the big league game."
The CHL is owned by an Arizona based company called Global Entertainment.
The Arizona based company is a partner with VRG in building the community events center that will house the hockey arena.
Global Entertainment has just completed a project in Dodge City, Kansas, but so far there's no hockey team.
There could be reasons for concern about Global Entertainment.
The Nashville Business Journal has reported the company has been hit with multiple lawsuits.
The Journal says the Arizona-based company is facing lawsuits in both Arizona and Texas.
One suit complains the bond offering in the deal failed to properly disclose certain facts, among them that the bond documents were defective.
Global says the allegations have no merit.
This is not Global's first time in Middle Tennessee.
Several years ago, they were talking with the city of Clarksville about a similar project.
And in 2006, Global announced it was working with the city of Lebanon and Wilson County to build a 50 million dollar arena.
That project fell through as well.
Craighead said the arena would not be built until the second phase of the project.
VRG would donate 20 acres for the building.
He said the city will ask the state legislature to create an entertainment board which will have the authority to issue bonds to build the arena.
The bonds would be repaid by sales tax revenue generated by the whole project.
The Mayor said VRG would have to fill at least 400,000 square feet of retail space before enough money could be generated to start building the arena.
Mayor Craighead said, "We do not want to say we're going to build a 40 million dollar project and not have the dollars to support it or the money."
Craighead said once completed the project could change Lebanon forever, but will take commitment from all of Lebanon to make it work.
It could take as long as ten years to build the whole project.
Groundbreaking on phase one of the Cumberland Center is scheduled for next week.
For more information check out the Nashville Business Journal's article on the Cumberland Center.