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 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.
dream hotel will 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).