i will try to save you my “i remember when” story of the gulch but it is fascinating to see how quickly it has gone from being an old train yard to one of the only LEED certified green neighborhoods in the country and the only one in the south when it was certified in 2009.
almost 10 years later, the neighborhood has flourished with office space, retail, residential and a thriving restaurant scene. this week, metro approved plans for a new 11-story boutique hotel on 11th avenue south across from kayne prime steakhouse. the developer is coincidentally chris hyndman, the founder and ceo of m street whose portfolio include kayne prime and a host of other neighboring restaurants nearby (saint anejo, virago, moto, whiskey kitchen and tavern).
currently a surface parking at the intersection of mcgavock and 11th avenue south, the 112-room eleventh house willfeature a pub, upscale restaurant, juice bar, rooftop bar + grill with city views and a 7,000 square foot luxury spa. amenities will also include a 32,000 square foot fitness facility and a rooftop pool and lounge. the hotel is being designed by hastings architecture.
hyndman is shooting for a fall groundbreaking with completion summer 2020.
growing pains are all around us. no big surprise since forbes declared nashville #6 best US city for job growth and #28 best place for business. adding to that, the city ranks 15th nationally in the number of fortune 500 companies headquartered here including the likes of HCA, dollar general and tractor supply. our low energy and labor costs have only continued to attract more new business relocations in recent months.
so how do we accommodate for the influx of new people in and out of the city? here’s three things in the works:
drivers spend on average 34 hours in nashville traffic annually…although my guess is some even spend 34 hours in traffic a month. in october, mayor megan barry unveiled a $5.2 billion transit plan bringing a combination of 26 miles of light rail, rapid bus, and even an underground tunnel downtown. the light rail will have its own designated lane. there will be 5 main arteries ending downtown at the underground connection that will run under 5th avenue.
the main cost would come from an increase in sales tax that would jump 1 percent in 2023. the mayor is also proposing a hike in hotel tax, rental car tax and business & excise tax.
“it will not be free. it will be an investment in our future and i believe nashvillians will be willing to make the investment when they learn more about this proposal and how it will change the way they live.” -mayor megan barry
the downside: if approved in may 2018, service improvements and improved accuracy on the current bus service as well as new neighborhood transit centers could start next year. for those frustrated in traffic this week looking for relief, the light rail transit (LRT) service, however, would not be active until 2026, starting with gallatin pike in east nashville. the lrt plan would not fully be completed until 2032.
the airport saw a 11.2% increase to 13.5 travelers in 2016, making it the fastest growing airport of its size in the nation. with the population of nashville estimated to top over 2.5 million by 2041, a $1.2 billion expansion was announced for the nashville international airport. no local tax dollars will be used. over the course of the next five years, the airport plans to triple their short term parking, add a 288-room on-site hotel and office building, expand concourse d and add a new international facility to name a few changes. the entire look and feel of the airport is getting a facelift as well, almost complementing the design of the music city convention center with its curved roof line (see above).
with the new british airways direct flight to london in may 2018, the airport hopes to open up new global market opportunities in the future. also, if approved next year, the city’s transit plan includes a light rail line as part of the new airport design.
13.9 million visitors , a record number, came to nashville in 2016, up from 13.4 million in 2015. it was also a banner year for the hospitality world since we sold the most hotel rooms ever.
annual visitation is up 45% in the past 10 years so the need is greater than ever to continue to grow the city’s hotel options. more than 100 hotels are in some sort of development in the city currently, outpacing cities like los angeles, chicago, atlanta and dc. according to STR hotel market data this summer, actually only 3 cities in the country have more lined up: new york, houston, and dallas.
among the notable hotel developments in the works for nashville, virgin hotel nashvillebroke ground in september at 1 music square west. the 240-room, 200,000 square foot hotel will come with restaurants, a bar and a rooftop lounge + pool, being delivered in 2019.
dream hotelwill be another prominent addition to the hospitality community. the 169-room hotel is a four-building development essentially rejuvenating a huge portion of printer’s alley downtown. printer’s alley is steeped in history dating back to the civil war era. there will be 6 new dining and nightlife venues on the street level and restorations of two of the main buildings has collaboration efforts from earl swensson architects with meyer davis laying out the interior.
plans for the upcoming W hotel in the gulch were revised and approved this summer, increased from 250 rooms to 350 rooms. the plan also calls for a rooftop bar, music venue and amenity deck. there will be a restaurant space on the corner of 12th and laurel (caddy corner to fin+pearl) as well as 12th and pine (near the turnip truck).
you may not be able to tell it by the smiles on their faces but these two polar bears are knocking on the door of 90 years old. they have witnessed many changes to the city. they were the creation of giovacchino mattei who owned the mattei plaster relief ornamental company. initially commissioned for the polar bear frozen custard shops here in nashville in 1930, there was a set of polar bears created for each location: one on west end avenue and one in east nashville on gallatin road.
according to the former city paper, when those shops closed after world war II, edgehill resident zema hill bought them and brought all four back to edgehill village. two of them went into his front yard at 1408 edgehill avenue and two went in front of the neighborhood funeral home which were sold later in 1952. since 2004, the ones from his front yard now sit at the corner of edgehill avenue and 12th avenue south, ready to throw the first snowball. they have become celebrity icons of the neighborhood having recently been included in the new neighborhood signs.
from celebrity chef maneet chauhan, the mockingbird promises to be “a classic diner with a global spin.” in a north gulch space long known for its late night music scene as anthem, mai and before that catatonic, mockingbird will sweep in offering something different to the spot, like frozen cocktails and adult milkshakes. | 125 12th avenue north
top chef maneet chauhan continues to gamble big on the nashville food scene: tànsuŏ, which means “to explore” in cantonese, will open later in 2016. sitting next to the mockingbird and maneet’s chauhan ale & masala house, the new asian eatery will offer up contemporary chinese cuisine at its best and she’s recruited brooklyn’s east wind snack shop chef/owner chris cheung to be in the driver’s seat. | 121 12th avenue north
texas-based del frisco grille will set up shop in their first nashville location in the next couple of months. sitting in a prime 10,000 sqft space on the street level of the new 15-story office building at the corner of 12th and demonbreun, del frisco will offer classic american bar & grille fare. due october 2016. | 1201 demonbreun
local restauranteur tom morales, known for the southern and acme feed & seed downtown, has plans to open his newest concept, fin & pearl, in the twelve twelve high rise later this fall. there will be a focus on seafood and steak as well as offering veggie and sushi options. similar to the southern, fin & pearl will be open for breakfast, lunch & dinner and will have an outdoor patio space. | 1212 laurel street
the 12-story, 224-room thompson hotel will open its doors in a few weeks. james beard award-winning john besh will put his fingerprints on a gulf-to-gulch concept called the marsh house. the seafood-driven, southern cooking will be helmed by chef brian landry, formerly of besh’s new orleans-based borgne. besh will also oversee the hotel’s rooftop bar/lounge. | 401 11th avenue south
not a new name to the nashville food scene really but east side’s pop-up restaurant little octopus will land a permanent home in the former ru sans spot later than anticipated but still this fall. offering global small plates and everything from pan-roasted chicken to you guessed it, octopus. | 505 12th avenue south
no doubt you’re probably starting to think the crane is our new state bird. the downtown skies are swarming with them. here’s a list of ten reasons you’re seeing them everywhere and what’s next:
1-the first up is one hot off the presses: the tennessean reported today that a plan is underway for the former nelson mazda lot at the corner of 12th and broadway. if the height submitted to the downtown code design review committee gets approved, we’re looking at potentially a 27-story mixed-use tower. they are making plans to leave the ground level open for an “anchor tenant.” the austin-based developer supposedly has close ties with fellow austin-based grocer, whole foods market, inc. it’s in the early stages but the team sees great pedestrian and retail emphasis for the corner.
2-chicago-based developers announced earlier this month big plans for a 4 acre lot on the south edge of downtown: 4 mid-rise/high-rise buildings, including a monstrous 40-story, 860,000 office tower. for now, it will kind of be on an island by itself on the south side of sobro. if approved, it will rank as one the top 3 tallest buildings in the city. we’re talking over 1.6 million square feet of office, residential and retail space total on the campus if the project moves forward.
3-bridgestone americas plans to move their corporate offices to an upcoming 30-story high rise in sobro. sandwiched between the encore condo high rise and the country music hall of fame on demonbreun, bridgestone will bring 1,700 employees, including 600 currently out-of-state ones, to downtown. they will be the lone tenant in the building.
4-at the corner of demonbreun and second avenue, tony giarratana’s 33-story luxury apartment project is currently being erected. the aptly named sobro will include 342 luxury apartments, 378 parking spaces and 18,000 square feet of street level retail.
5-one step closer to the river on second avenue, developers are seeking conceptual design approval this month on a pair of buildings (one which could rise 40 stories) at 222 second avenue south. if it moves forward, they would consist of 420 apartments and condos, a 225-room five-star hotel as well as streel level retail/restaurant spaces along first avenue south. the image above actually includes the sobro and bridgestones headquarters (both off to the left) as well as the existing pinnacle building. you can see that pocket of town is filling up quickly.
6-on 8th avenue south and demonbreun street across from the music city center, a 35-story jw marriott hotel and a 35-story residential building are both in the works on a 3.7 acre lot. the lot has been cleared. the hotel includes 533-room hotel rooms, conference center and will create 650 jobs for downtown. starbucks and bourbon steak are on board to go in on the street level of the hotel.
7-the residential tower that will sit beside the marriott will have 8 floors of parking (some below ground level), street retail and 28 floors of residential. originally, the plan was for a 22-floor office building but those plans were later scrapped.
8-next door on the 8th avenue roundabout at 100 clark place, developers are finishing up on nashville’s first westin hotel. it will include a rooftop bar called L27 which is being touted as music city’s highest rooftop bar. the 27-story, 454-room hotel will also have 20,000 sqft of adaptable event space, 12 meeting venues and a the rhapsody spa that will be open to the public as well. the westin is open for business october 2016.
9-in february, developer buckingham cos finalized the purchase of a half acre lot across the street from gulch condo high rises terrazzo and icon. even though it’s a couple of years from a groundbreaking, the developer plans to build a 38-story residential tower. in the fall, the metro board of zoning did approve the height exception of 38 stories which is 14 stories higher than what is normally allowed in the gulch.
10-on the north side of broadway near the ryman auditorium, developer tony girratana has been sitting on the infamous 505 church street lot for awhile. dreaming. waiting for the right time. now is that time for his big plan: a 45-story, 543ft tall high rise called 505 CST. the development will include 500 apartments (with the option to convert the top 175 to condos available for purchase), 1,500 square feet of retail space on the street level, 690 parking spaces, and a 45,000 square feet amenity level.
it’s worth noting for comparison purposes, the very visible twelve twelvehigh rise which was completed last year in the gulch is 23 stories. the at&t building downtown, most commonly known as the “batman building,” is 33 stories.
curious who rounds out the current top 10?
at&t building-33 stories, 617 ft
fifth third center-30 stories, 490 ft
william r snodgrass tennessee tower-31 stories, 452 ft