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, January 3, 2013

Creating Places: 2013 Preview, Part I

There is much to look forward to regarding changes to Nashville's built environment this year. With that theme in mind — and as the haunting and atmospheric sounds of Thomas Newman's brilliant Adjustment Bureau soundtrack tempt me with slumber — here are just a few thoughts about 2013.

* This could be the "year of the hotel." Currently being built and within no more than two miles from the central business district are, listed alphabetically, Fairfield Inn (the Gulch), Hyatt Place (SoBro), Homewood Suites (West End Corridor), Omni (SoBro) and two Marriott hotels (Midtown). Soon to start is a Hilton Garden Inn in SoBro, In addition, and just outside the I-440 loop, another Marriott is under construction in Bedford Commons in Green Hills. On tap to start by mid-year is hotel (the brand  has yet to be announced) at the Buckingham Cos. site in Midtown. That's nine hotels. If my woeful memory serves me, never will urban Nashville have had this number of hotels under construction at any given time during the last 20 years.

* On the hotel theme, I exchanged an email today with Rob Schaedle of Chartwell Hospitality, the developer of the Bedford Commons Marriott and the Hilton Garden Inn planned for SoBro. He wrote that demolition should begin very soon on the SoBro site.

* And continuing the hotel theme, many of us continue to wonder if Swerdling Associates will start work this year on a hotel at the Lower Broad site for which a Westin was planned years ago. Similarly, some have asked my thoughts regarding the hotel Giarratana Development would like to build at Molloy and Fourth in SoBro. I suppose the chances of the former starting this year are 50-50 (at best), while the chances of the latter doing likewise are much less certain. Having said that, I would truly like to see Tony Giarratana develop a hotel on the proposed site, which is currently home to a surface parking lot that Giarratana's Premier Parking operates.

* One of the best "neo-traditional" building to be completed in years within this city is the Randall and Sadie Baskin Law Center (see here), which opened earlier this year on the Belmont University campus. I predict the equivalent academic building (in terms of quality materials, workmanship and timeless aesthetic) that will open in 2013 will be the Kissam College Halls.

* Lastly, a major project that will take shape this year within the I-440 loop and about which I am only modestly excited: the Lentz Public Health Clinic (read more here). The building itself should look nice enough but it will be surrounded by a sea of nothingness. Also, I will lament the loss of the existing Lentz facility, which I consider a fine example of modernist architecture.

More to follow as we continue to look at what awaits in 2013 ...



  1. With the opening of the Music City Center, downtown clearly needs a very high-end hotel. A Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton would do well here and would meet the CVB's goal of a luxury hotel property for the MCC. I think a W Hotel would work well in the Gulch area.

  2. Demolition will indeed start on the Chartwell Property as I have seen people clearing things out of the building. Regarding Tony G. and a hotel, Tony is NOT a hotelier. He is a residential builder i.e. Cumberland, Viridian, Encore and in a minority role, The Bennie Dillion with Post Development. Notice other projects Tony removed himself from i.e. Bell Meade Harris Teeter Project and Park 25. 2013 will be a quiet year for Giarratana Development. Tony will continue to focus on the growth of Premier Parking of which he already added properties this year.

    I think 2013 will see the start of the Hensler Tower, a multitiude of residential buildings, and I am predicting Nashville City Center 2 will be built on top of the now under construction parking garage. The Fletcher Group wants to get ahead of the curve with office development, especially on the cusp of the MDHA study announcement. Tony won't start 505CST, and West End Summit is a different market than the CBD where NCC2 would be constructed. NCC2 has a great chance with a 20-30 story tower on the site. The excavation is halfway through on the hole. 10-1 odds we see a tower announcement before summer.

    1. AMous 10:34,

      Excellent info and predictions. You are well-versed regarding this topic.

      Thanks for contributing.