EDC Rejects Revised Proposal for Former America’s Best Site

Former America's Best Property

CLARKSVILLE, IN (November 27, 2023) – A new plan to develop the former site of the America’s Best Inns and Suites on Eastern Boulevard has failed. During a late November meeting of the Economic Development Commission (EDC), members voted 3-0 to deny the developer-backed bonds needed for the project to proceed. EDC members are appointed by the Clarksville Town Council.

Since 2019, the town has been seeking a developer to revitalize the site near I-65, which has remained vacant for five years following the property’s purchase and subsequent demolition by the Redevelopment Commission (RDC). Despite numerous attempts to secure a qualified developer, the property failed to garner any interest from companies with a plan for redeveloping the property.

Property Ownership
Property Ownership

Form G was the only developer to respond to the third and final ‘Request for Proposals’ for the site in late 2022. The original proposal outlined the construction of 200 apartment units, a clubhouse, retail space, and several townhomes. While the RDC approved the plan, it encountered difficulties in obtaining the necessary developer-backed bonds from the Economic Development Commission.

“Members of the EDC were hesitant to approve the bonds due to concerns from the public about adding additional apartments on the town owned land,” said Ken Conklin, Clarksville Communications Director. “Once we knew that plan wasn’t going to work, we went back to Form G in hopes of working out a new plan.”

In response to public sentiment, Form G presented a new vision for the site to the Redevelopment Commission, known as the “Gateway Green” project. The updated plan features the construction of 26 owner-occupied condominiums, a clubhouse, large green space, and a single retail location on the town owned property. The remainder of the proposal outlines the construction of 126 multi-family housing units on land already owned or under contract by Form G. In keeping with public desires, no multi-family housing units would be erected on the RDC-owned property. The project would have allowed the RDC to recoup it’s $5 million investment into the property, and capture an additional $1 million in tax revenue.

The RDC voted 4-1 in favor of the newly revised plan and signed a tentative term sheet for the project. The next step would be for the EDC to approve the developer-backed bonds needed for Form G to finance the project. Using developer-backed bonds would mean that the town wouldn’t be liable for repayment of the bonds. Instead, it would be on the developer to make sure the bonds were paid.

The EDC hosted a public hearing during its late November meeting, allowing Form G to present the new plan to the public, and to allow area residents to provide input. More than twenty area residents were present at the meeting, yet not a single person voiced opposition to the project during the public hearing. In fact, every individual who spoke expressed support for approving the bonds. Despite a lack of opposition during the public hearing, EDC members voted 3-0 to deny the issuance of developer-backed bonds, thus bringing the project to a halt.

As a result, Form G representatives say they plan to proceed with building a 60-unit apartment complex on the property they own adjacent to the RDC-owned property. The Redevelopment Commission will now have to go back to the drawing board in hopes of finding a new use for the property, while also trying to recoup it’s $5 million investment. Until then, the land will remain vacant and provide no additional tax revenue to the town.

Form G's Gateway Green Proposal
Form G’s ‘Gateway Green’ Proposal