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West End/Mid Town/Music Row/Vandy Projects

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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.

 

Is Germantown an urban neighborhood?

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Much of the design focusing on the car probably has to do with business decisions instead of a conscious decision to not embrace the pedestrian.  While it is moving toward being a pedestrian-friendly city, Nashville is nowhere near the level of San Francisco or NYC or Chicago.  The bulk of people who choose to live in this development are still going to get to work by driving, and when they choose where to live they are going to choose a place that provides easy and convenient parking. Imposing the same standards here that buildings in these more urban cities have may very well lead to failed projects (or, at the least, less successful projects).  

 

I think the important thing is that Nashville is putting residents in its core in huge numbers.  As those numbers increase we're going to see a critical mass develop and the economics of the situation will begin to push for truly urban design. As vacant or underutilized lots are gobbled up and the growing population demands more retail services we'll see these buildings incorporate it into their design because they will be able to make good money off of the ground level retail spaces. 

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No, I wouldn't define Germantown as an urban neighborhood. My own personal definition would be a "street-car suburb". I'm not sure what you are getting at, but IMO, there are very few urban neighborhoods in Nashville.

While Germantown has many attributes that are desirable for an urban neighborhood, I just don't think it has the density to be considered "urban". However, some of the newer buildings in Germantown have what I would call an urban design.

But again, we are talking about interpretations of a word and how that word varies from building type to building type.

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No, I wouldn't define Germantown as an urban neighborhood. My own personal definition would be a "street-car suburb". I'm not sure what you are getting at, but IMO, there are very few urban neighborhoods in Nashville.

While Germantown has many attributes that are desirable for an urban neighborhood, I just don't think it has the density to be considered "urban". However, some of the newer buildings in Germantown have what I would call an urban design.

But again, we are talking about interpretations of a word and how that word varies from building type to building type.

 

Germantown existed pre-streetcar, as did Edgefield. Granted, these places were originally considered to be 'suburbs' of Nashville...but the same can be said for many neighborhoods of cities that are now considered to be 'urban,' including those in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc. 

 

What I'm getting at is the definition of urban can apply differently to different cities. To Nashville, Germantown is an urban neighborhood. To New York or San Francisco, that type of development would probably be farther from town...but those cities were much larger than Nashville when these types of neighborhoods developed -- or, that type of development would have been destroyed to make way for higher density development as the city grew. 

 

In terms of 'urban design,' I think that has to do with how buildings address their environment, not specifically architectural features. You can have very high density -- 10,000 ppsm density suburban development in tightly packed houses or apartment buildings on winding streets with cul-de-sacs. You can have suburban highrises and even skyscrapers. But a lot of that has to do with the planning model rather than the design. No, building to the street alone does not necessarily make a structure 'urban'...but that does go a long way as far as its setting. You can also have urban buildings with setbacks or built-in green space.Urban vs. suburban is, IMO, more philosophical than it is strictly design or numbers based. Those other categories do matter, but I think some people put far too much stock into them. In essence, sometimes the same structure can be urban on one lot, and suburban on another, depending on how it is utilized. 

 

In relation to how the term is used on here, though, I reiterate that my main problem is with what I consider people using the term 'suburban' as a crutch for attacking something they do not like. Basically urban = good, suburban = bad. If I don't like it, it cannot be urban.

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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.

 

Edited by BnaBreaker
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Thanks for your long and thoughtful response, BNA. I definitely don't think we're on different worlds when it comes to what we are thinking...just a few small differences.

 

I'll type up a response later, but I think I'll put it in the coffee house, because we're getting a little bit off topic for this particular thread.

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Am I missing something about this building?  It is actually on 25th, not 23rd, correct?  So was the original name Park 25, not Park 23?  I am a little bit confused by this conversation.  Are we talking about two different buildings?  Another question about this building is the angle of that rendering.  If I am not mistaken, the garage entrance that we see in the rendering is located off of the side street (Brandeau Pl or something?), which is where it should be.  But the street trees obscure whatever faces 25th and Centennial Park.  I am guessing that lobby space would go across the front of the buidling facing 25th and the Park.  I would be disappointed if it were just a facade over a garage space.  This building lot isn't really all that wide along 25th, so that is why I am guessing that the lobby would front the street most of the way through.  The public entrance on the corner is fine, but I agree that it could be more prominently featured through architectural detailing.  But I can't really see retail doing well on this stretch of 25th other than a coffee shop or restaurant to go with the Kobe Steaks in the building next door or just down the way.

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Interesting article in the Tennessean on the Stonehenge development in Hillsboro village that is just a hundred feet or so from my home.

 

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130802/BUSINESS02/308020062/Hillsboro-Village-neighbors-upset-by-development-plan

 

The neighbors went about this the wrong way. They opposed a nice development and as a result will get a worse(but still nice) development. A similar thing happened with the new HGHill building on 21st. They didn't want to deal with the neighbors so they just used the current zoning.

 

Neighborhood activists need to pick their battles and learn how to engage developers in a constructive manner. Do not take the Kay West path and act as if all developers are evil. Create a dialogue. Do voice your concerns, but do it in a non hostile manner. Many on this board can learn something from this article.

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A similar thing happened with the new HGHill building on 21st. They didn't want to deal with the neighbors so they just used the current zoning. article.

are you referring to the old great escape/ discount tobacco building now housing Two Boots Pizza? I'm a neighbor and am unaware of any opposition to Hill's plans.

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Trailer now on site at the Renasant Bank building on West End.

 

Still a ghost town at WES. Whats up ASPalmer??????? About time to start answering the tough questions for the public as all you have done is made your fishing hole twice as large as it was.

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Dmills,

He almost certainly was not trying to line the money up most of this time. He obviously had to wait until he had an anchor tenant. To get a consortium of banks together in 10 months to give out 300 million is a lot to ask. Tons of legal issues involved. Then you've got to line up the construction crews, which isn't a simple task right now I would imagine. The economy is pretty good for large scale projects like this.

There are many complex issues involved in this project. I am certain he wants to get those right before beginning again.

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^If all that prior work is needed, which I would think is something they would expect, than why would they be so far behind on their schedule? Their website stated that the foundation would start summer 2013. Followed by the structure beginning summer 2013 threw winter 2014. I just do not see the delay as a good thing considering the timeline they set. I don't think it is project ending issues, but clearly something is happening that is threatening the project.

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Oh I know. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of money and a lot of the time the Spec market for something this big was timid at best. What I don't understand is, why hasn't there been any kind of announcement of progress? There's no way he's getting lambasted by the banks for this - he has backing of HCA, Metro, and presumably Intercontinental. It should be relatively easier than trying to do it as spec.

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So are you guys proposing he doesn't know what he is doing? He has put together large projects in the past, albeit not this large. I don't quite get what you are hinting at? That he can't get it done? I think everyone on this board needs a dose of patience.

Ill also say what I always do to naysayers on this board: if it is that easy to develop real estate, then you should start doing it and take in the cash!

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I question what's going on, that's all. If I were announcing a large project like this, which many have made fun of me for, I'd want to keep the public maybe just a little informed so as to save face. To the average person right now, all he did was make his hole bigger. We're coming up on one full year since the announcement. 

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We obviously won't know anything until an announcement comes from him, or someone leaks the information to the press...but I do begin to wonder if another developer is courting SCRI/Parallon.

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I would love for SCRI/Parallon to end up d'town in a TG building but with the TIF already approved it would prove embarrassing for Mayor Dean if this project had a major hiccup, IMO.

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I would love for SCRI/Parallon to end up d'town in a TG building but with the TIF already approved it would prove embarrassing for Mayor Dean if this project had a major hiccup, IMO.

 

Me too. And this is just a thought (I have zero sense of what HCA/SCRI/Parallon want to do), but is it conceivable that with an increased height of ~150 ft to 505 (perhaps 12 floors) that HCA could consolidate their own HQ there, too, and have all of them under one roof?

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Me too. And this is just a thought (I have zero sense of what HCA/SCRI/Parallon want to do), but is it conceivable that with an increased height of ~150 ft to 505 (perhaps 12 floors) that HCA could consolidate their own HQ there, too, and have all of them under one roof?

While this would be fantastic news for Tony and 505CST, it would most certainly be the end of WES and that would suck. I'm crossing my fingers that both of these get off the ground and soon.

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It would be curious if HCA relocated to 505, as it was the location initially considered for their HQ back around 1994. Probably better that they waited for a real landmark piece of architecture to be envisioned (as opposed to something a tad more generic at the time).

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