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CBD/SoBro/RutledgeHill/Rolling Mill Hill Projects

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WW @ the Post dug this one up. The North Point Hospitality Group out of Atlanta recently purchased land from Bert Matthews and has plans for 2 projects on that site.

 

The first in phase 1 is a 225 room Residence Inn on the corner of 5th and KVB that will be between 12 and 15 stories and the second is a Spring Hill Suites to be in phase 2, that will sit atop a parking structure on down 5th that will be 15 to 18 stories tall. I cannot recall the number of rooms but it will be about half the number of the Residence Inn. It will also be on a very tight lot, so it will be a taller thinner building.

 

Construction is due to start on Phase 1 could be as early as August but by the end of the year.

 

Not all we need and want but will be a good addition.

 

Here is a link to their website

 

http://northpointhospitality.com/

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William,

 

Can you get on Swerdling's case about the 2nd/3rd/Broadway full service hotel? See if you can dig anything up on what they are planning, how far along they are, etc? Yeah that'd be great.

 

These will have the chance to make some impact I guess. Just wished for better brands.

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Did the purchase the entire block? Is it the 5th-KVB-4th-Peabody side or the 5th-KVB-3rd-Peabody side?

 

I really wish they would have built a bigger and better quality hotel. Either of these are prime lots with direct access to MCC and/or Omni.

 

That being said there is a nice development of these in downtown Baltimore..... I have stayed here a couple of times and the complex includes a movie theater, gym, restaurants, and several retail stores.

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Here are the specifics. I was trying to go off of memory that does not always remember all of the details.

 

 

North Point Hospitality Group Inc. is formulating a two-phase project with hotels that will address both Fifth Avenue and Korean Veterans Boulevard, according to S. Jay Patel, company president and chief executive officer. By the end of the year, North Point hopes to break on Phase I of the development, a 14-story 200-room Residence Inn by Marriott.

 

 

By early 2015, North Point expects to begin Phase II, which will include both a 150-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott and a one-floor 50-space addition to the parking structure. Fronting Fifth Avenue and rising 11 stories, the SpringHill Suites will be built on top of the 250-space parking garage, making it a 16-story structure. All the rooms in the hotel will face either west toward Midtown or east toward the Cumberland River.

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 the SpringHill Suites will be built on top of the 250-space parking garage, making it a 16-story structure. 

 

Sooooo what you're saying is they are not addressing the street with any kind of retail?

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Sooooo what you're saying is they are not addressing the street with any kind of retail?

 

Huge missed opportunity!   Hotel block after hotel block after hotel block, all full of budget "limited" hotels.  It will be dead in day... and dead at night.  Huge failure on the part of zoning.

 

And as the economy treads water, I fear a "land grab" just to prevent competitors from actually building along KVB and adjacent blocks.  So the spaces along KVB are likely to remain vacant for years.

 

By announcing a start "before the end of the year", they're playing it very cautiously... almost too cautiously. I predict lovely cinder block exteriors and small no-pane windows. Very, very budget. It should take as long to build as the double-flag hotel proposed for the corner of 17th and West End. As of now, still just a proposal.

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They have to adhere to Metro codes and the downtown overlay. So there are rules involved.

 

A quote:

 

“The land on which North Point will build is already zoned for hotel use. However, the company will need the Metro Development and Housing Agency Design Review Committee to approve the exterior designs of the buildings.”

 

 

I think there is time to include retail in the development as this is just in the early design phase. Things can change and are fluid at this point in the process.

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The comment about the SpringHill in Baltimore containing a movie theater piqued my interest.  I'd love to see a downtown movie theater in Nashville.  Look at what the downtown Regal has done in Knoxville, there's no reason one couldn't be equally as successful here, and it could do a HUGE part to spur on development.  Not only would it bring in people who live in the neighborhoods surrounding the core, the people moving towards the core surely don't want to have to drive to Green Hills or 100 Oaks to go to a movie.

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So how many hotels along KVB thus far announced does that make?   Wasn't there one proposed for 4th and KVB and another for 3rd and KVB?  None of them full-service.

 

On a somewhat related note, there is a huge risk to street-level activation if the city surrenders all the land of the thermal plant site for only a park.  With no one living in that vicinity, and few few workers in buildings around it, a park there with no other draw would make the park about as visited as the west bank riverfront park with its cement steps/amphitheatre.  Sure, people would use a park, but as long as they can get to it, and have ample parking or near their homes.  That bluff will remain a windswept point without an entertainment and/or residential use... with underground parking a'la Chicago's lakefront.

 

I realize I probably seem pessimistic to many here, but I do believe everything Nashville's leaders have done up to now has been both piecemeal and inadequate for creating a real convention draw.  For example, there was talk a while back of a House of Blues being interested in lower Broad/Sobro, but what initiatives were made by the mayor to spur such activity.  I realize it's not fair to compare to the "big city" near me (and my hometown) Atlanta, but Altanta always goes BOLD.  It seems that Nashville's leaders are content to stay modest and put parks in prime development areas that would otherwise be a draw and utilize the river.  It is really a shame that Nashville cannot seem ot activate the river after years and years of studies and brainstorming.  OK... rant over.  Time to get back to work in my very soggy surroundings.

Edited by MLBrumby

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Not sure how successful a theater would be, but I do like the idea of having something part of the development that downtown doesn't currently have. I guess we will have to play the waiting game for a bit more time before we can truly speak negatively on the announcement.

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I think the rain and cold is getting to us all...bring on spring!  At least sun...can hold off on spring rain for awhile.

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" don't want to have to drive to Green Hills"

 

I dont like driving to Green Hills for anything.

 

A Downtown movie theater I think will happen at some point. There has to be a critical mass but I dont think people will want to pay for parking and then go to a movie and that is what you would be looking at. Now they could offer free parking with a theater stub, however you will have people abuse that as well by staying a lot longer than just a movie to get free parking. I will place my money on the Gulch for a theater at some point. (North Gulch)

 

The residential is going to follow in SoBro. I dont think there will be or should be a residential tower on KVB. That street has the potential of so much more. There are two more hotel companies that own land along KVB and both are Nashville based. They may sit on the poperty for a while and sell it as an investment later. I do think you will see the Swerdling project happen and there are other hotels companies looking as we all know. So we will have to wait and see.

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So how many hotels along KVB thus far announced does that make?   Wasn't there one proposed for 4th and KVB and another for 3rd and KVB?  None of them full-service.

 

On a somewhat related note, there is a huge risk to street-level activation if the city surrenders all the land of the thermal plant site for only a park.  With no one living in that vicinity, and few few workers in buildings around it, a park there with no other draw would make the park about as visited as the west bank riverfront park with its cement steps/amphitheatre.  Sure, people would use a park, but as long as they can get to it, and have ample parking or near their homes.  That bluff will remain a windswept point without an entertainment and/or residential use... with underground parking a'la Chicago's lakefront.

 

I realize I probably seem pessimistic to many here, but I do believe everything Nashville's leaders have done up to now has been both piecemeal and inadequate for creating a real convention draw.  For example, there was talk a while back of a House of Blues being interested in lower Broad/Sobro, but what initiatives were made by the mayor to spur such activity.  I realize it's not fair to compare to the "big city" near me (and my hometown) Atlanta, but Altanta always goes BOLD.  It seems that Nashville's leaders are content to stay modest and put parks in prime development areas that would otherwise be a draw and utilize the river.  It is really a shame that Nashville cannot seem ot activate the river after years and years of studies and brainstorming.  OK... rant over.  Time to get back to work in my very soggy surroundings.

First, may I say that I am with you on being underwhelmed by the very weak option that this property owner/developer chose to exercise on this valuable private land?  But then, may I offer a different perspective on some of these points?

 

Your statement that "everything Nashville's leaders have done up to now has been both piecemeal and inadequate for creating a real convention draw."  And yet, downtown Nashville apparently IS a big convention draw.  Former Mayor Bredeson put what is not Bridgestone Arena on Broadway when it was dead and dangerous.  That was bold.  Nashville political and business leaders worked to create the entertainment district on Broadway and 2nd Avenues that are always packed with pedestrians in an area that had been nothing but adult bookstores and criminals.  That was bold.  The previous Mayor before Dean was not bold in terms of downtown spending, but he did spend a lot of city money in the neighborhoods to get us where we are with East Nashville, Germantown and other in-town neighborhoods blossoming.  With Mayor Dean, certainly, Nashville's Music City Center convention center is bold, both in scale, design, and timing, and those who voted for it took a big risk with a skeptical public that could have voted them out of office.  So Nashville's elected officials are capable of doing some bold things.  Not always, not consistently, but some bold things have happened in Nashville amidst a political/cultural climate in Nashville that wants absolutely nothing to change. 

 

What seems to be the frustration with this particular announcement about a piddly hotel going on KVB, is not a gripe that is accurately placed on Nashville political leaders but on Nashville developers.  And I am with you on this.  I am not sure why Nashville's developers want to play it safe so much, but there is little that Nashville as a city can do to change that other than to implement minimum requirements as they have done with the Downtown Code. And even then, many businesses will try to dodge that or try to get the TN State Legislature to overturn Nashville's zoning authority.  I think that Nashville as a city is doing what it can for the most part.  The private developers are the ones who need to step it up quite a bit.

 

But in your comments about proposed public land use, your comparison of the Thermal Plant site's future to  "a windswept point without an entertainment and/or residential use... with underground parking a'la Chicago's lakefront" is really puzzling to me.  Chicago's lakefront being open to the public as a park, and not being the private realm of the ultra wealthy or an industrial wasteland like most lake or riverfronts in America in the last 150 years, was quite bold and was part of the emerging City Beautiful movement that created livable cities at the turn of the century.  This was an action championed by business leaders at that time amidst much opposition.  The simple fact that there IS open space in Chicago is a miracle, and those parklands get used quite heavily for all kinds of outdoor activities.  Also, Chicago's lakefront includes a world-class campus of museums (Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science and Industry on the south side, Lincoln Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens on the north side), a brand new performing arts theater in Millennium Park, as well as new enterainment venues including an amphiteater for symphony concert performances and an additional concert venue that is home to Lollapalooza.

 

I would LOVE for Nashville to develop an outdoor amphitheater as cool as Chicago's on the thermal plant site.  And it would definitely be used by tourists, downtown/Sobro residents as well as those driving in to town, parking at LP field, and walking across the pedestrian bridge.  It would definitely be better than the bland stairsteps that exist going down to the river near Broadway that passes for an amphiteater.  And it would increase demand for residential, hotel and office uses on the streets surrounding it.  I would say, bring that on!  

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Not the SoBro announcement I was hoping for. The brands could have certainly been better, but a couple of decent-sized infill hotels cannot hurt. Let's just cross our fingers and hope we end with some respectable designs. The SpringHill suites atop the garage worries me a bit. 

 

Here's the Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites tower that North Point just completed in Midtown Atlanta. Looks like this project of theirs contains some retail, but I'm not loving the garage portion. 

 

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Edited by ariesjow

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^^^im pretty sure that would go against the downtown code. Not sure, but I would expect a little retail with this one. At the least, a street fronting building entrance or two.

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I'll reserve full judgment till I see some actual design/plans. I do think these developers are missing the boat by not attempting full service hotels. Even if it was a mixed development between a JW Marriott and a Residence or Spring Hill, it would be a major step forward.

 

 

 

I don't see how so many complaints can be pinned on the city leadership, though. There are plenty of things they can be blamed for, but most of this has to be on the developers. City leaders have been clamoring for more full service hotels. Developers just seem not to be listening. They can't help that. I suppose we could have zoning that requires street front retail in the downtown overlay...but would that in itself scare away some developers? How long until we run into the problem of too many retail spots and not enough potential tenants? We have to remember that we don't have a mature, fully developed downtown. We have plenty of offices, hotels, churches, and entertainment venues...we need more residential -- a lot more -- in the area to support the street front retail that everyone keeps shouting about. I'm all for "activating" the street...but I'm not for empty storefronts if we overbuild.

 

Building a massive (for our size, at least) new convention center should really be enough from the city side as far as creating a convention requirement. Not only that, there are plenty of vacant or under built lots directly adjacent to the convention center. Aside from the Omni/CMHoF, I don't think the city should be as involved in the rest of the process, so long as zoning guidelines are met. At some point, you have to let the natural market take over. The city has more than done their part. It's time for the developers to do theirs. If they have any brains at all, one of them will build a large full service hotel right next to the convention center.

 

I don't have a problem with the city playing an advisory role in how this area is developed. But it's time to cut the umbilical cord. This area should take off on its own.

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[i apologize for the terrible editing on my part. I have a computer with a small screen and there is a lag between my typing and the words on the screen]

 

Good point on the park in Chicago.  I have been there on a very busy Taste of Chicago Sunday, and it was very nice (while crowded, it was not oppressively so).  Re-reading my comments, I admittedly conflated a lot of gripes I have about Nashville's leadership (AND YES) developers.  As a Vandy alum from the early 90s, I have seen Nashville change for the better since I moved away.  And I have visited multple times each year since.  If I had a choice in the matter, I would choose to live in Nashville. Perhaps my comments above should have been directed toward its potential, which it has loads of, but sometimes I wonder if there is any big thinker in the city's government.  Yes, Dean is doing a lot on his own, often despite the business community. 

 

I concur with your opinion that Nashville's business leaders and developers are not BOLD.  I should have clarified in my comparison to Atlanta that there is far more of a visible partnership between Atlanta's corporate world and its city hall than seems to be in Nashville.  This is visible in their museums, zoo, sports and stores (to name just a few areas).  Countless initiatives from Atlanta's officals have been espoused by the business community, and vice-versa.  In contrast, Nashvlle's business leaders sometimes only seem too eager to bolt for "greener" pastures of Williamson Co. BTW: I believe Metro Nashville's lack of public transit has made a move to Williamson Co. for many companies a natural, especially for their employees who drive to work anyway.  If you have to pay to park in downtown Nashville and don't have light rail to get there quickly (forget BRT, which is forced to use congested streets, and I've been stuck on a BRT in Cleveland), then why not just move out to Williamson (or any other suburban county) where you can live closer to work and drive shorter distances and not have to pay to park. IMHO, the business community downtown and midtown should be "all in" for Light Rail.  The reason Dean is proposing BRT is because he feels he can't get the support needed for a light rail system.  I encourage you guys to check out so many studies on BRT that show it is a waste of money.  Basically, I think Nashville has a problem when it has to give millions in incentives just to have one of its homegrown corporations stay in town.  Atlanta gives incentives too, but the only ones that come to mind are for companies that are relocating from another state. 

 

Anyway, back to Nashville's potential.  I agree that Bredesen did a lot to jumpstart Nashville's allure to people who never had been there, or never listen to country music.  Bridgestone was considered very BOLD BOLD BOLD when it was conceived, but even then lots of corporations greeted it with a yawn. And I remember the hurdle that the Preds had to overcome for corporate support too (Gaylord is a horrible corporate citizen). I can't help but compare that to Atlanta's city leaders and business community getting together on the new retractable dome for the Falcons.  Now I realize I am getting close to going too far in the Nashville to Atlanta comparisons... One is not the other, and vice versa.

 

On the Thermal site, I should have clarified (must have been the fog of my rant, LOL) that I am very much in favor of a part/most of that bluff to be dedicated to a park... and the amphitheatre seems like a great idea.  But my beef is that there seems to be tremendous footdragging as to what to do to the riverfront, and yet, what eventually gets done there is so uninspiring.  I point to the new park built on the East bank.  It looks beautiful, but I can tell you our firms' employees (downtown) are extremely unlikely to use that park as it's out there all by its lonesome, not near residences.  I am predicting the same thing will happen at the Thermal.  Nor am I suggesting that it should be residential for the ultra wealthy.  In fact, I think that's why Tony G. has had such a hard time getting interest in his new SoBro tower.  Actually, I think that the corner of KVB and 1st Avenue would be far better suited to retail and entertainment with an office component.  Those sorts of businesses will serve as an anchor (just like a shopping mall) to bring people and pull people from the future convention center and elsewhere downtown. Also, I think any business in SoBro needs to understand the distinction between the Gulch market and downtown.  Up to now (and in the near future anyway), they are distinct markets.

 

Nashville has a great draw already in Lower Broadway.  However, I must caution that that is not what all conventioneers want to do.  Lower Broad is a gift to downtown, but even it looks seedy in places, and even dangerous.  Of course, I love the Honky Tonks and realize that many are the "Real Deals" on Broad.  You can't push out the tacky souvenir shops either, nor would I want to do that either.  And I realize that you don't want to recreate Rodeo Drive down there either. But that really gets to my point.  And I am now talking about the Westin Hotel that was proposed for lower Broad on the site of vacant, dilapidated buidlings.  In Atlanta, that would have been celebrated and welcomed and there would have been ways found by the mayor's office and city council to make the hotel look great and utilize any historic elements there (trust me, if there is one thing Atlantans regret, it is their loss of so many grand historic buildings!!).  But what did Nashville's leaders do in response to the Westin?  They raised holy hell in opposition, just to save a seedy block of buildings with no architectural merit.  And then the hotel was never built.  That's what I am referring to here... all that potential and so little support for bold ideas.  And yes... the business community is to blame as well.  I know of one particular man who owns lots of property around SoBro, and a large hotel downtown who absolutely does not want any new hotels in the vicinity (for obvious reasons).

Edited by MLBrumby

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" don't want to have to drive to Green Hills"

 

I dont like driving to Green Hills for anything.

 

A Downtown movie theater I think will happen at some point. There has to be a critical mass but I dont think people will want to pay for parking and then go to a movie and that is what you would be looking at. Now they could offer free parking with a theater stub, however you will have people abuse that as well by staying a lot longer than just a movie to get free parking. I will place my money on the Gulch for a theater at some point. (North Gulch)

 

The residential is going to follow in SoBro. I dont think there will be or should be a residential tower on KVB. That street has the potential of so much more. There are two more hotel companies that own land along KVB and both are Nashville based. They may sit on the poperty for a while and sell it as an investment later. I do think you will see the Swerdling project happen and there are other hotels companies looking as we all know. So we will have to wait and see.

 

I agree that parking will continue to be a problem.  A theater would have to offer some sort of validation system, like...you get the first three hours of your parking free or something.  That or the city will simply have to start operating free-to-use garages after business hours like Knoxville has done.  Not sure if it could be scaled to fit downtown Nashville, but having a couple of thousand free parking spots open after 6:00 would make a massive impact on the number of visitors to downtown.  Let's face it: we're not getting a viable mass-transit system that will be workable to bring people into downtown for a long time, so we have to make do with what we have.

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Let's see "rules involved" kinda like the MCC with no public circulation on KVB, an NES substation on the corner of the only road that remains open through the convention center. Maybe the CVB folks that are complaining about all the "proposed" budget hotels should discuss this with the MDHA design committee overseeing the MCC and Gateway Overlay criteria. Feeling just a little cynical about the "wisdom and rules" here. The notion that the development team embraced its southern side has little merit and the results, at least for now, seem to support it did not. Visited Atlantic Station over the weekend, seemed to at least "follow" some vision.

 

I definitely agree on the NES substation. Why they didn't locate that facility within the MCC footprint boggles the mind. No, instead lets put a blank-walled building at a prominent corner and set it back a good ways from the street as well. Brilliance. To be honest, based on Nashville history with it's utilities infrastructure I'm still kind of shocked they went through the trouble to actually bury the lines in the area.  

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I am new to a lot of this, so I do not fully understand some of the language you guys use. But what exactly is a "full service" hotel? Is it just a hotel with a restaurant or business attached to it?

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I am new to a lot of this, so I do not fully understand some of the language you guys use. But what exactly is a "full service" hotel? Is it just a hotel with a restaurant or business attached to it?

 

Dunno the exact definition, but full service offers pretty much everything a traveler could want or need.  I guess they can vary?  Such as a spa, usually a restaurant, bar, laundry, and other amenities.  Thus, these are usually "high-end" brand hotels or those with conference meeting space.

 

A limited is, well, just that, limited.  None of the frills.

 

Someone probably has a better explanation.

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I'm not really an authority on this, but I think the general definition would include things like a full restaurant, a bar, room service, business center, and possibly a concierge. They would also include workout facilities, pools, laundry options, and a very nice lobby/common areas. Interestingly, what they DO NOT offer is free Internet. I travel some for work, mostly to medical conventions, and have stayed at numerous "full service" hotels and several mid-range hotels. I wouldn't call any of the hotel announcements for Sobro "budget." Hyatt Place, Residence, Hampton Inn, SpringHill Suites are all mid-range hotels that offer nice (not luxurious) common areas, workout facilities, pools, business centers, and modern rooms. They typically do not offer hotel restaurants. They also typically offer some added benefits....free continental breakfast and free Internet. It really irks me that full service hotels don't offer free Internet. Personally, I choose the mid range hotels when I can over the full service hotels. I rarely ever eat at the hotel restaurant, I have no need for a concierge, I want free Internet, and I really like having a continental breakfast ready when I walk out in the morning. To me, it's not worth spending an extra $75 per night to have marble in the lobby and granite in the bathrooms. I can also save $10-15 on free Internet and $$10-15 on free breakfast. All together I may save $100/night. I wonder if we're actually witnessing a transformation in hotel preference play out here. Are the masses of business travelers choosing these types of hotels over the full service hotels because they're making a cost benefit analysis and are finding that full service hotels are not worth the extra cost? If so, are the developers cognizant of this and choosing the hot hotel brands for the type of consumer and foregoing the full service brands. All that being said, from our standpoint as Nashville residents and lovers of architecture and urban development the full service hotels are definitely the preference. I would much rather have a 20 floor Westin or Marriott built instead of a 12 story SpringHill Suites, but that may not be the economic reality we're dealing with now.

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