The Memphis Regional Megasite, which has already cost Tennessee taxpayers more than $140 million is reportedly three years away from completion, according to The Jackson Sun.
Justin Owen, president of The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a Nashville-based free market think tank, previously called the megasite “an empty field of broken promises.”
This, Owen said, despite “big talk by state officials” to bring thousands of jobs to a downtrodden area.
The Jackson Sun quoted Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe as saying the eminent domain process will take several more months. The wastewater pipeline process, meanwhile, will take 18 to 24 months, the paper quoted Rolfe as saying.
“The largest hurdles facing the Megasite right now are the approval of permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and using the eminent domain process in order to lay the wastewater pipeline,” according to The Jackson Sun.
According to the paper, the ECD has hired the consulting firm Gresham Smith “to determine what company would be best for managing the utilities on site.”
Gresham Smith has received roughly $500,000, the paper said.
Quoting TNECD Deputy Commissioner of Business Community and Rural Development Allen Borden, The Jackson Sun said the site will likely have a multinational global company as its first tenant.
“The Tennessee General Assembly has budgeted $175 million for the Megasite so far. TNECD has used roughly $88 million of that money,” the paper said.
“Rolfe said he expects the finished product would cost closer to $250 million, but they won’t budget anymore money until they actually have a tenant.”
As The Tennessee Star reported, in an opinion column two years ago, Owen said state officials have spent more than $140 million in taxpayer money to buy and develop the site to attract a large manufacturer to the area.
Some of those efforts, Owen said at the time, had faltered.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Memphis Regional Megasite” by Tennessee Economic and Development.