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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Creating Places: 2012 Highlights, Part II

A few more observations about Nashville's built environment highlights from the past year ...

* With the opening of Vista Germantown, the near completion of both Sixth & Garfield and The Square at Fourth and Madison (see image below), and the opening of Rolf & Daughters in a rehabbed space in Werthan Lofts, we might look back in a few years and say 2012 was the year Germantown/Salemtown began to zoom past Five Points and 12South as the city's second-most construction-intense mixed-use urban district (trailing only the Gulch). And more new infill is on the way, including Evergreen's project at Eighth and Hume (read more here), SWH's massive development at the Werthan site (read more here), Jim Creason's project at Fifth and Monroe (read more here), and Robin York's five-unit residential building slated for the southeast corner of Sixth and Garfield (read about here).

* West End Park continues to be transformed in an almost stunning manner. However, none of the infill structures of the past 10 years (I count at least 12 residential buildings of at least five units or more have been built) offers office or retail space. The district remains fully residential — and that is a bit disappointing. Word has it a retail space was planned for the under-construction West End Village (read more here). Obviously, that failed to materialize.

* With two major projects having started in late 2012, Eight Avenue South/Franklin Road continues to take shape. However, if the street is ever to be vibrant with pedestrians, it will need the following: 1. mixed-use buildings; 2. an "epicenter" of sorts (I supposed the so-called Antique District anchored by Zanies could be that center); and 3. sidewalks from the street's segment spanning the roughly one-half-mile stretch from Craighead to Gale.

* On the Eighth Avenue theme, the facade of 700 Wedgewood Park, which Peggy Krebs has developed at Wedgewood and Interstate 65 one block east of Eighth (read more here), is fairly attractive. But the sides and back are painfully bland. Seemingly, the building is almost finished.

* One of the most underrated developments of 2012 is Shoppes on Fatherland located in the general  Five Points area. Very nicely done.

Next up: A look at what is to come in 2013.


  1. Interesting summary of the various areas across the city. Clearly a lot is going on right now.

    Looking forward to your report on what's to come in 2013! Should be a banner year for Nashville.

  2. A-Mous 8:43 AM,

    Thanks. My 2013 preview looms.