3 areas prepping for nashville growth

new entrance planned for the nashville international airport

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. Screen_Shot_2017-10-17_at_10.59.29_AM



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 nashville broke 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.

virgin hotel nashville-coming 2019

dream hotel will be another prominent addition to the hospitality community. the 169-downloadroom 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.

the upcoming w hotel | 316 12th avenue south


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).





10 hotels coming to nashville

gulch's 12-story thompson hotel due late 2016
gulch’s 12-story thompson hotel due late 2016

no room in the inn?  all of that is about to change.  by 2017, there should be ample space for the whole family to visit.  or for the convention center to host the NRA or the american heart association or whomever needs to host a conference. here’s a list of a few in the pipeline:

•  the boutique thompson hotel will sit on the peninsula of 11th & 12th avenue split in the gulch, sharing the block with 404 kitchen and the landmark station inn.  the 12-story, 224-room hotel will have street retail (including chicago’s infamous doughnut vault) and a rooftop bar/lounge open to the public. although nashville is one of the fastest growing cities, in the history of the brand, nashville is the smallest city to score a thompson hotel thus far.  opens summer 2016.  | 401 11th avenue south

•  marriott is doing something a little unique.  they are putting three of their hotel brands in one building.  sitting at the corner of korean veterans blvd & fifth avenue south, the 19-story building will house a 125-room springhill suites (floors 7-11), a 126-room residence inn (floors 12-18), and on the other side of the building, a 204-room AC hotel (floors 7-18).  all guests will be able to access the rooftop bar and lounge on the 19th floor. | 400 fifth avenue south 

virgin hotel
virgin hotel

•  developers will start in october grading the lot to make way for nashville’s virgin hotel.  the 240-room hotel will feature a rooftop pool, gym, entertainment venue, 14,000-square-foot meeting space, and virgin hotels’ signature bar/lounge the commons club.  initially, completion was set for fall of 2016 but it’s not been confirmed if that’s still the game plan.  | one music row

•  an 1890s 7-story building downtown near printer’s alley will soon be home to 21c hotel. the building is on the national register of historic places which coincides with 21c’s heart to support revitalization in the downtown core.  this summer the hotel sought approval to add seven rooftop rooms to the top of the building which if designs are approved, would bring the total to 124 rooms.  they are also proposing a restaurant on the street level.  | 222 third avenue north

•  a 27-story westin hotel is headed to the 8th avenue south roundabout in late 2016 near the convention center.  the 454-room hotel will offer amenities like a spa, swimming pool and bar on the roof.  the developers early on negotiated $16 million in public aid. in exchange, they agreed to a room-block with city officials for conventions.  the hotel must make up to 80% of its inventory available for larger conventions who are booking 3 years in advance.  for conventions who book up to 2 years in advance, they must provide half.  the hotel room prices must remain “reasonable” and “competitive”. | 807 clark place

kimpton hotel
kimpton hotel

•  kimpton hotel will anchor the 17-story, $100 million plus compound on 21st avenue near vanderbilt.  a mix of retail, residential, and kimpton’s full-scale 180-room hotel, restaurant & bar, the development is being built green to strict LEED certifications.  due late 2016. | 200 21st avenue south

jw marriott
jw marriott

•  demolition began earlier this month on the old united methodist publishing building at the corner of demonbreun and 8th avenue south. next up, a 35-story jw marriott.   completion for the 532-room hotel is expected for late 2017. | 201 eighth avenue south

•  groundbreaking is still to be determined on the upcoming cambria suites but developer is targeting an early 2018 opening date.  the 225-room hotel will sit one block away from the convention center on the current goodyear building site on the corner of 8th avenue south and mcgavock. | 715 mcgavock street

the changing landscape of music row property

recently, a friend of mine accepted a position at a major record label in town.  to his surprise, his future boss told him he might have to bring his own desk for his new office.  the business is evolving.  the music row streets where chet atkins & roy acuff once roamed are becoming quite a different place today.  the nashville boom after the recession has investors snatching up land all over the city.   with the decline in music sales and as record labels continue to rework a defunct system, developers are seeing the value in recreating music row into what could become a more defined midtown landscape and less of a music row.

one of this summer’s hot topics was saving the rich history of the rca building a on 17th avenue.  unless someone steps up who is willing to preserve it this week for a mere $5.1 million, tenants will need to vacate by december 1.  the owner stated the building was no longer profitable at the current rents with major structural, electrical and plumbing updates necessary to continue operation. that, combined with the building lacking any architectural significance, demolition is probably looming to make way for something new and shinier.  the owner currently hopes to break ground in spring 2015 on a five-story mixed use building with 80 upscale residential condos that will include 2,000 square feet of restaurant space on the street level.

30 music square west
30 music square west

nashville resident/rca building a tenant & pop singer ben folds was very public about his disdain over the sale of the building.  in a fierce, public “he said/he said” this summer, harold bradley, one of the longtime owners of the rca building/legendary session guitarist & country music hall of famer, broke his silence in a letter in the nashville scene stating “the architecture of the nashville sound was never of brick and mortar.”

the atisan on 18th
the atisan on 18th

he probably has a valid point.  the little building that once housed porter wagoners’ old studio was recently torn down to make way for stonehenge real estate group’s artisan on 18th, a 6-story, 153-unit apartment development at 819 18th avenue south. tenants begin moving in this fall.

across the alley from artisan, lennar multifamily is throwing its hat in the ring in late summer 2015. if all gets approved, m residences, a 19-story 300-unit, mixed-use apartment building will rise on 19th avenue south.  the street level will offer retail space on 19th and a 4,000 square foot restaurant space on the corner of 19th and chet atkins.

m residence
m residence

a block up from rca building a, billionaire entrepreneur richard branson’s virgin hotels announced plans earlier this year to build the company’s third US hotel here in nashville (the others being in new york & los angeles).  the 240-room hotel will sit on an acre lot across from the ASCAP building on the corner of 17th avenue & division street.  they are shooting for a mid-2016 opening date.

skyhouse, a new 25-story, 352-unit luxury apartment high rise, is proposed to be located on the corner of broadway and 17th avenue. the building will also include more than 10,600-square-feet of ground level retail and a 25th floor clubhouse, fitness center, pool and an outdoor plaza boasting 360-degree views of the city.

novare group & batson-cook development's skyhouse
novare group & batson-cook development’s skyhouse

dallas-based developer phoenix property group plans a 194-unit, six-story apartment building on the corner of 16th avenue south and mcgavock street.  the building will be called cadence and is aiming for an early 2016 opening date.

nashville will always be known for music, even more diverse now than ever before.  how we make music and where we make it however, may be changing. and change tends to be inevitable for growth.

the cadence
the cadence