Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Creating Places: Homewood (not so) Suites

At left is a rendering of the Homewood Suites hotel planned for the northwest corner of 24th and West End avenues. The site was last home to the F.Y.E. building, with its stately stone facade (originally, there was hope it might be spared) ready for the wrecking ball. Based on the rendering (which, in fairness, might not offer the best representation of what we will actually get), there is much about the HSuites building I dislike. I anticipate lots of cream stucco, pinkish brick, basic windows, etc. The building simply screams of the type bland, design-uninspired hotel one would commonly see in CoolSprings. There is nothing distinctive, cool or "big city" about the structure. I am pleased that it will be seven stories (the two buildings on the site and soon to be razed rise no more than 30 feet) and that it will have no significant surface parking. But beyond those two pluses, I simply can't find anything else to praise. An unanswered question: Will the building address Elliston Place in any manner? I was hopeful there would be an entrance fronting the corner of 24th and Elliston but the rendering suggests otherwise. Of note, Robert Rodgers, the Memphis-based developer of the building, also developed the even-more-generic Hampton Inn that fronts Elliston. A Vanderbilt grad, Rodgers (in a press release) noted he wanted to give the area a building that blends nicely with the campus. I assume the man's intentions were honorable. And I recognize that we need hotels and that the interior of the Homewood Suites might be stellar. Still, it is frustrating a more exciting exterior design for the Homewood Suites building could not have been envisioned.


  1. From what I can tell, I think the rendering of the hotel is really not so bad. Certainly, it will be better than what is already there. It does seem to blend in well with the Vanderbilt area.

  2. William - Some of your questions can be answered by reading the MPC minutes about the project. According to this document, there will not be an entrance at the corner of Elliston and 24th. It also contains more details about the Elliston face of the building.

  3. I will miss the old F.Y.E. building, but definitely not the little strip center next door. I don't think the hotel is a bad designed building. I think it's rather attractive, actually. The proportions are well done and it has some strong details. It's hard to say what colors the actual materials will be.

    Some might relate it to something that belongs in Cool Springs, but look down the street at the The West End condos. It has a similar vernacular along with other hotels and mid-rise buildings within the same corridor.

    Personally, I am hoping for a W someday that provides Nashville with a really unique hospitality experience. Most likely that will be placed downtown. As for this design of Homewood, the location it is styled appropriately for its location.

  4. Friends,

    I do agree the hotel will bring some positives to the table. Also, the more I've looked at the rendering, I've noticed some nice details. I have no problem with traditional design for 21st century buildings. A stellar example of such a building is the Astoria, in Green Hills' Bedford Commons. If this structure is "Astoria like" (which I don't anticipate), I would be very pleased.

    A-Mous 2, thanks for the link regarding the Elliston portion of HSuites.


  5. Looks like another Vandy dorm to me!