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West End/Mid Town/Music Row/Vandy Projects

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While 1800 West End (the Spring Hill Suites/Residence Inn or whatever combo) isn't rising fast, there is work being done. A number of concrete trucks were there today when I drove past. I'm not sure why it's moving at a snail's pace...but at least it's moving. 

 

Meanwhile, 2400 West End (Homewood Suites) has more of its skin on. I could only take a quick glance (traffic was moving), but I have to say, for what it is, it's not a bad looking project. Better urban design than most hotels in West End (which, I know, is like totally saying a whole lot).

Edited by UTgrad09

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The look at this project from the Elliston Place side is much better than I thought it would be> Looks as if they are going to have a really nice rear entrance there on the corner.

 

I will be in and out of town a lot for appointments, so I drive by what I can when I can.

 

Some parts of Park 25 are 9 floors. That project looms large over 25th Ave. Elliston 23 is about to finish up on the last of the apartments in the rear.

 

Pine street Flats in the Gulch is 97% leased too.

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While 1800 West End (the Spring Hill Suites/Residence Inn or whatever combo) isn't rising fast, there is work being done. A number of concrete trucks were there today when I drove past. I'm not sure why it's moving at a snail's pace...but at least it's moving. ).

I don't know what the construction schedule is, but there is activity there every day, all day. Seems to my novice eye to be an appropriately sized work crew, and improvements have begun throughout the site. Perhaps once the footings are all set, the pace will pick up?

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Meanwhile, 2400 West End (Homewood Suites) has more of its skin on. I could only take a quick glance (traffic was moving), but I have to say, for what it is, it's not a bad looking project. Better urban design than most hotels in West End (which, I know, is like totally saying a whole lot).

What I will say about 2400 West End is that it does appear to address Elliston much more than some of us had feared.  It even has a pretty nice feature with a rounded sort of turret at the 24th/Elliston intersection. 

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What I will say about 2400 West End is that it does appear to address Elliston much more than some of us had feared.  It even has a pretty nice feature with a rounded sort of turret at the 24th/Elliston intersection. 

 

I definitely agree with that. I think the renderings just didn't do it justice, either. The materials and brick color look much better than they appeared in the rendering. And despite the use of stucco (which I know some on here plain dislike), it has some nice finishing touches from what I've seen.

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I seriously hope they don't just toss that Federal Signal Thunderbolt in the dumpster. They could sell that thing for a nice penny to someone who collects them or can refurbish it.

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I seriously hope they don't just toss that Federal Signal Thunderbolt in the dumpster. They could sell that thing for a nice penny to someone who collects them or can refurbish it.

 

I have a friend who has had his eye on it for quite some time now. Trust me, he will be dumpster diving if it's trashed.

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Guest 5th & Main Urbanite

Glad to see this project get going. Charlotte could be a great terminus into the city with residential buildings as well.

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Not sure if this was posted, or if this is even recent news or not, but it was new to me when I saw it.  Here is an updated rendering of Park 23:

 

Park%20Central.png

 

It looks a bit disappointing to me.  I do like that it is built right up to the street, but it seems to have zero ground level retail, and appears to only have a single pedestrian street entrance.  Meh. 

Edited by BnaBreaker

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It's literally RIGHT up to the street. When the construction fence comes down it's going to feel pretty imposing. But yeah, not my favorite project in town.

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How long before that little "curly" pediment at the top of buildings looks as dated to the last decade as peaked-roofs and stucco do to the 80s?  Already (IMHO).

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Ask and ye shall receive

http://livethepark.com/

Thanks. I checked out their website, but it doesn't list any info about retail/commercial space. Bummer.

On a side note, I've often wondered something about potential projects around the park. While I'm typically very outspoken about the need for some no-frills, blue collar, condos in Nashville (no pool, no community room, etc.), I also think Centenial Park is the one place you could go for uber-upper scale. I'm talking very high end units, doorman, valet parking, large balconies, a'la Upper East Side style living. Is Nashville not ready for such a building? Wouldn't this be the place to do it? Park Views, heart of the city. I would think a city of our size would have at least 20 or so people willing and able for that style of living.

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It does kind of seem that most cities do have a bit of a 'learning curve' after they really start to embrace urban development, as far as how you're actually supposed to DO urban development.  It seems to take a bit of time for them to learn that in order to really create successful urban spaces there are basic guidelines that must be followed beyond simply following the trend of choosing to build your apartment project in Midtown Nashville instead of in Franklin as you might have five years ago.  I'm glad that the quality and form of projects throughout town seem to be generally on the upswing, but happy as I am that this is being built, developments like this still fall into the "missed it byyyy that much" category, for me.   
 

As I alluded to before, I do like that this project was built up to the street.  I think is important to do as much because building a proper street wall is what helps to create that sense of place and context for the pedestrian.  However, the developer and architect were clearly kind of missing the whole point of doing that to some degree when they fell back on their auto-centric suburban laurels and included a very visible and very chasm like front entrance for cars in the final design, while only including a single tiny, measly door for pedestrians to enter into and exit from.  Those are mixed messages, and it to me it comes across as though they are still designing from the standpoint of what's best for the car while simply accommodating the pedestrian, instead of being the other way around.  I mean, if the entire point of building up to the street is to help encourage pedestrian traffic, then by making the decision to have only a single focal point, or target, for pedestrians in a structure that large, then clearly, there are mental connections that aren't yet being made as to WHY you do things like build right up to the street. 

 

I'm not saying that the only way for Nashville to be a successful urban center is to be a clone of New York or Philadelphia or San Francisco, but when it comes to the function and feel of the urban neighborhoods in those cities, there is a laundry list of reasons as to why those cities are built exactly the way that they are, down to the small details.  In other words, there are just certain intrinsic qualities that an urban neighborhood is supposed to have in order to function like it should, and if you aren't going to follow those practical guidelines, then why even bother developing a project in an urban setting to begin with?  There is a lot more that goes into building a properly functioning urban building than not having a parking lot between the street and the building.  The whole point of an urban structure is to NOT be insular, and to contribute something to the community and promote a public street life, and if you aren't going to have concern yourself with that as a developer, then you have more to learn.  It's like if a car company designed a car that has a top speed of 2 mph.  It might still be a car in the sense that it has four wheels and an engine and you can sit inside, but the designer is clearly missing the whole point to begin with, and not understanding why so many people choose to drive cars.  Alright, so I never have been good at analogies.  But basically what I'm saying is that when I see projects in places like Nashville and Houston and Atlanta be built like this, with the garage in front and whatnot, it still kind of comes across to me as a place trying to be something it isn't, focusing on urban development not because of all of the clear advantages, but simply because it's a trend.  But hey, I'm thrilled beyond belief that these days we are actually making an effort to be a properly functioning urban center, which is a whole hell of a lot more than we could say even ten years ago, and I'm confident that as times goes on we will re-learn how real neighborhoods are built. 

 

To anyone who actually read that entire babbling rant, you are truly a saint.  hahaha :)

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How long before that little "curly" pediment at the top of buildings looks as dated to the last decade as peaked-roofs and stucco do to the 80s?  Already (IMHO).

 

Agreed.  It is always disappointing to me when architects just lazily go by a pre-set formula, instead of actually using their architectural skills to come up with something visually interesting.  Not that every project needs to be a masterpiece by any means, but could we get something more than just a square blob colored some shade of beige/brown, who's most daring architectural feature is ripped straight from the average suburban strip mall? 

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I understand a lot of what you are saying, BNA. And I think in terms of being more pedestrian-friendly, you are absolutely right. A lot of designs out there are an improvement, but still not entirely pedestrian-friendly.

 

 

But I don't really agree with your definition of urban. Urban isn't about catering to pedestrians, or cars, or trains, or space ships. The whole point of urban is to not be insular? There are plenty of urban structures that defy that very definition. That doesn't make them less urban. That just means it has a poor design.

 

I think these days people misuse the words 'urban' and 'suburban' when it comes to design. Buzzwords like 'activating the street' or 'walkable' or 'auto-centric' do not make buildings more or less urban. A parking garage is literally the most auto-centric structure ever conceived. Yet it's not the function of the garage, but rather the placement that determines urbanity. 

 

I think it is too easy trying to attack something for poor function or design elements as being 'suburban' in some way, shape, or form.

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I understand a lot of what you are saying, BNA. And I think in terms of being more pedestrian-friendly, you are absolutely right. A lot of designs out there are an improvement, but still not entirely pedestrian-friendly.

 

 

But I don't really agree with your definition of urban. Urban isn't about catering to pedestrians, or cars, or trains, or space ships. The whole point of urban is to not be insular? There are plenty of urban structures that defy that very definition. That doesn't make them less urban. That just means it has a poor design.

 

I think these days people misuse the words 'urban' and 'suburban' when it comes to design. Buzzwords like 'activating the street' or 'walkable' or 'auto-centric' do not make buildings more or less urban. A parking garage is literally the most auto-centric structure ever conceived. Yet it's not the function of the garage, but rather the placement that determines urbanity. 

 

I think it is too easy trying to attack something for poor function or design elements as being 'suburban' in some way, shape, or form.

 

I understand what you mean, but I think it's just a difference in subjective definition, and I think we're likely just arguing semantics.  I'm sure there are better terms I could use, but I can't think of any right now.  To me, an "urban structure" is not simply any built structure that is constructed in a place that the Census Bureau defines as an 'urban area.'  If you took Rivergate Mall and plopped it into the middle of SoBro, in my mind it wouldn't suddenly be 'urban'.  It might exist in an urban environment, but that doesn't make it an appropriately urban building, anymore than being in Wrigley Field makes you a starting pitcher for the Cubs. 

 

So yes, to reiterate, by my subjective definition, in order to be considered truly "urban", a building must actually meet a few criteria, one of which, yes, is not be an insular fortress, but rather, to help to promote public life in the surrounding neighborhood through it's design.

Edited by BnaBreaker

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Guest 5th & Main Urbanite

I understand what you mean, but I think it's just a difference in subjective definition, and I think we're likely just arguing semantics.  I'm sure there are better terms I could use, but I can't think of any right now.  To me, an "urban structure" is not simply any built structure that is constructed in a place that the Census Bureau defines as an 'urban area.'  If you took Rivergate Mall and plopped it into the middle of SoBro, in my mind it wouldn't suddenly be 'urban'.  It might exist in an urban environment, but that doesn't make it an appropriately urban building, anymore than being in Wrigley Field makes you a starting pitcher for the Cubs. 

 

So yes, to reiterate, by my subjective definition, in order to be considered truly "urban", a building must actually meet a few criteria, one of which, yes, is not be an insular fortress, but rather, to help to promote public life in the surrounding neighborhood through it's design.

There are definite differences in Urban, and Suburban design for sure.

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I understand what you mean, but I think it's just a difference in subjective definition, and I think we're likely just arguing semantics.  I'm sure there are better terms I could use, but I can't think of any right now.  To me, an "urban structure" is not simply any built structure that is constructed in a place that the Census Bureau defines as an 'urban area.'  If you took Rivergate Mall and plopped it into the middle of SoBro, in my mind it wouldn't suddenly be 'urban'.  It might exist in an urban environment, but that doesn't make it an appropriately urban building, anymore than being in Wrigley Field makes you a starting pitcher for the Cubs. 

 

So yes, to reiterate, by my subjective definition, in order to be considered truly "urban", a building must actually meet a few criteria, one of which, yes, is not be an insular fortress, but rather, to help to promote public life in the surrounding neighborhood through it's design.

 

If you took any downtown highrise, put it out in Franklin or Murfreesboro, and surrounded it with a sea of parking lots, the structure would no longer be considered 'urban.' But likewise, you could take a suburban office park building and fit it onto a whole block downtown and it would be an urban building. There are many examples, not only here, but everywhere, of urban buildings that are 'insular' as you say it, or don't address the street, or aren't pedestrian friendly. You can pretty much start with just about every civic building ever constructed. Ok, maybe not 'every'...but you see what I mean. If you really started getting down to it, the number of exceptions you would have to come up with is astounding.

 

I guess what I'm saying is, it's not necessarily the building design (or materials) itself that makes a structure urban or suburban...it's how that structure fits in with its surrounding environment. I don't think there is a single agreeable definition or guideline. In fact, the definition of urban really varies from city to city, and country to country. I don't mean to attack you specifically, but there are so many times I come across posters (especially on C-D) that have such a narrow definition of urbanity that it really only applies to a few select cities that had large scale development not only pre-auto, but pre-streetcar/train as well. And personally, I think the people doing that are purposefully being elitist.

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I think you guys are arguing about different buildings.

There is certainly an obvious difference in function between civic structures and residential buildings. Considering this discussion began with the design of a residential structure, I think the traditional definition of "urban", which BNA is referencing, is appropriate.

No, the Capitol Building in Washington doesn't have any ground level retail, address the street, or have sidewalk awnings, but that is obviously not the function of that building.

A residential building is somewhat different.

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