Paramount747

The Height Thread....Time to discuss again....

57 posts in this topic

Ron, WW and myself had a few chats recently on Nashville's lack of height with all of these new towers being constructed in the core, Gulch, and Mid-town. As of yet, Tony has not developed a 400 foot tower, and we still are not sure if 505 is a reality yet at 550 feet. Bridgestone is a mere' 460 feet, and the rest are 200-350 feet.

The ATT Tower at 617 feet (with spires) was constructed 21 years ago and since that time Nashville has not built a new tallest while our peer cities Austin and Charlotte are building new tallest towers on a regular basis, not to mention Oklahoma City with its 900 foot behemoth.

Although Austin and Charlotte have 800K+ respectively in their cities, and we have 650K , all three of us have MSA's and CSA'a relatively similar. So what is the reason we cannot surpass the 600 foot barrier, or the 700 foot barrier?

Austin has one tower in the 683 foot range and building one in the 688 range with multiple buildings in the 500-550 foot range. Charlotte has a couple of 800+ foot towers and a multitude of towers in the 500-700 foot range.

Now, I am an advocate of low rise, human scale, pedestrian friendly architecture. I am all for infill in the 10-15 story range in cool and funky areas like the Thompson Hotel and The Gulch Crossings Building, however, Nashville still needs a statement building. We need a beacon and a skyline identifying building.

Even Birmingham and Memphis have buildings the height of Nashville, (with the exception of ATT) and to many outsiders coming to visit our city, our skyline does not impress them one bit. As I walk the streets of downtown, I occasionally hear chatter about how non-impressive the city is in regards to the built environment. I even heard a woman criticize the Ascend Amphitheater calling it "too small and unimpressive." she went on to state her city had one much larger and much more impressive.

Yes, I know we are known for music, food, entertainment, and the like and those are great things, but it seems like Nashville continues to fall behind in high rise architecture. I know Nashville has amazing attributes many cities would love to have. I get all of that. I love my city, and have no inclinations to live elsewhere, but is it not time for an iconic tower?

Is it ever going to happen? It's like wondering of the Titans will ever win a Super Bowl or if Vanderbilt will ever win the $EC/National Championship in college football, or the Predators winning the Stanley Cup.

Are the odds of Nashville getting a 600+ foot building that remote, like the aforementioned sports teams winning championships?

Don't get me wrong, I love all the progress we are making, but I remember the proposals form the 80's which were big and were bold. Most proposals were 45+ stories, and 500-800 feet. We don't even get those proposals anymore. Tony's tower on Church Street keeps shrinking, so even he is not proposing a true skyscraper anymore. Now 505 is down to 550 foot mediocrity. You would think being the It City would draw some developers in town that want to do something tall.

Is our suburban pull still so strong that we will still see a mass exodus to the suburbs for more unsustainable office parks and shopping malls?

Any ideas?

Edited by Paramount747
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Great rationale and great point.  We may end up being called "stubbyTown" in 7 years, at this rate.  And while there still remains some CBD land (?), they're not going to be going back and adding a big stack of stories on top of existing ones.  They can build cosmic needles and ziggurats in midtown. Green Hills, Maytown, or "Uptown" to their hearts' desires, but it's Downtown where it really counts, since DT is the visual center of attraction and impression.
-==-

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Yeah...with our current building spree, it is odd that there doesn't appear to be a single proposal by anyone to build the new "highest"...and I can't remember anyone proposing building anything over 500' other than Tony G at 505 Church.  Everything else proposed is basically the same, somewhere between 250'-450'.

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It would be fun to see construction of a couple of talls (i.e.; 667' and 750'). That might assuage our envy of the CLT and  ATX skylines somewhat. Maybe the Uptown/Lifeway developers will surprise us by years end.

However, the two numbers I focus on are 500 and 250.

Back when I was in High school, reading by candlelight , I would use study hall to peruse the World Almanac and Book of Facts which listed all buildings above 250' Nashville had three (topping out at 409') and Atlanta had about 12 (topping out at at 550'). At one time, the L&C Tower was the 40th tallest in the USA. So I have always used 250' as the minimum for skyscraper status. And as of today, I figure we could have at least 38 'skyscrapers' in a few years in a 40 block long skyline. That should create some envy from our peer cities.

 

NASHVILLE TALL BUILDINGS

 

 

 

BUILDING

 

# FLOORS

 

HEIGHT

 

1

 

AT&T

 

32

 

617’

 

2

 

505 CST APARTMENTS

 

45

 

573’

 

3

 

FIFTH THIRD BLDG

 

32

 

490’

 

4

 

BRIDGESTONE (UC)

 

30

 

460’

 

5

 

SNODGRASS TOWER

 

31

 

452’

 

6

 

JW MARRIOTT HOTEL

 

35

 

425’*

 

7

 

PINNACLE

 

29

 

417’

 

8

 

L&C TOWER

 

31

 

409’

 

9

 

NASHVILLE CITY CENTER

 

27

 

407’

 

10

 

JAMES K. POLK BLDG.

 

18

 

392’

 

11

 

RENAISSANCE HOTEL

 

35

 

385’

 

12

 

VIRIDIAN APARTMENTS

 

32

 

371’

 

13

 

ONE NASHVILLE PLACE

 

23

 

359’

 

14

 

UBS CENTER

 

28

 

354’

 

15

 

SOBRO APARTMENTS

 

32

 

345’

 

16

 

WESTIN HOTEL

 

27

 

321

 

17

 

19th & BROAD APTS.

 

25

 

319’*

 

18

 

TURNBERRY OFFICE

 

23

 

319’ *

 

19

 

EMERY DEVEL. APTS.

 

25

 

311’ *

 

20

 

EMERY DEVEL. OFFICES

 

24

 

305’ *

 

21

 

SKYHOUSE APTS

 

28

 

289’

 

22

 

SHERATON DOWNTOWN

 

27

 

300’

 

23

 

222 2nd Ave

 

24

 

298

 

24

 

BANK OF AMERICA

 

20

 

292’

 

25

 

SUNTRUST

 

20

 

292’

 

26

 

ANDREW JACKSON BLDG

 

17

 

286’

 

27

 

ICON

 

22

 

280’

 

28

 

12/12 CONDOS

 

23

 

270’

 

29

 

OMNI HOTEL

 

23

 

269’

 

30

 

PALMER PLAZA

 

18

 

269’

 

31

 

PARKWAY TOWERS

 

21

 

262’

 

32

 

HCA PARALLON

 

16

 

257’

 

33

 

VANDY CHILDRENS HOSP

 

14

 

254’ *

 

34

 

1922 BROADWAY

 

25

 

253’ *

 

35

 

CRESCENDO

 

23

 

250’ *

 

 

 

ELMINGTON 1

 

23

 

250’ *

 

 

 

18th and BROAD

 

25

 

250’*

 

 

12th & Broad

 

20+

 

250’*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* my guess/hope

The other number is 500' which is the new minimum height to make the listings in the WA&BoF. Cities with fewer than 3 are relegated to the 'kiddie table listing' where Nashville currently resides. Why couldn't they add 10 more feet to the 490' 5th/3rd Building? That and the 505CST would put us back in the main page listing.

I'm hoping for a 667 footer from Uptown and construction of the 505CST at the 550' (or 573', whichever) level.

 

Edited by PHofKS
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We have seen the national developers come to Nashville lately, and they've (in many ways) shown the local yokels "how it's done" in financing, time-to-completion, and even design. That being the case, I don't expect anything along the order of Austin's tall residential towers anytime soon, but it will very likely be "outsiders" who lead the way. I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of what will go in at the Mazda dealer, but won't be surprised if it turns out to be shorter than 20 stories. Yes, while some "outsiders" have really disappointed, like the Church Street site across from NES, I applaud Lennar for their proposal (let's see if it does get out of the ground) and Northpoint for theirs on KVB.  Even the Roundabout tower is a pretty good example, albeit nothing stunningly tall or architecturally impressive.  

 

But the locals are very cautious and won't do anything daring. Among local office developers, Southeast Venture can't seem to get out of the low rise suburban crap... and Emery's proposal was among the more disappointing among the competitors for that site.  I'm afraid he has bitten off more than he can chew in the old CC development. Hayes' proposal is modest, at best and (even with a pedestal garage) won't rise higher than 22 stories.  The extremely conservative Eakin won't (or can't) build anything bigger than 250,000 sf... and Giarratana apparently has a bigger appetite than his abilities.  Even Palmer couldn't dream beyond 25 stories.

 

In the office realm, Cool Springs still eats downtown's lunch. So look around downtown. Despite the building boom, it's still hotels and residential.  Among office demand, The healthcare sector is growing to the point that they need more office space, but they don't want the stigma associated with "palatial" towers (so they go to Cool Springs, Antioch, or the nondescript Capitol View complex.  Plus, with no big banks to occupy tall towers, it's going to be a while before you see anything taller than the current spate of residential towers. Bridgestone was a huge disappointment... and the Omni was a meek attempt at "daring".  Still think the city should have insisted on a "tallest" statement from Omni, but they didn't... and that's (IMHO) the crux of the matter.  City leaders don't seem to be all that inclined, or even interested in building tall.  It seems they're quite content to let ATT be the statement for decades to come.  

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Great rationale and great point.  We may end up being called "stubbyTown" in 7 years, at this rate.  And while there still remains some CBD land (?), they're not going to be going back and adding a big stack of stories on top of existing ones.  They can build cosmic needles and ziggurats in midtown. Green Hills, Maytown, or "Uptown" to their hearts' desires, but it's Downtown where it really counts, since DT is the visual center of attraction and impression.
-==-

"Won't you take me to... Stubbytown... won't you take me to... Stubbytown..."

(sincerest apologies to Lipps, Inc)

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Funny the Omni in Louisville will be 30+ stories and 450+, while we are a much larger city and we got 21 stories and 260 feet! Austin got an 18 Story Hyatt Place, and we got 13.  Tony told me once Viridian was supposed to be 36 stories and around 450, but the city told him he could not block the L&C letters. The Renaissance was supposed to be 42 instead of 31 (33 with maintenance floor and roof). They cancelled the 11 floors of condos because the city did not think he could sell them,  and did not want to zone Commerce Street with Residential.

The list goes on and on of what could have been. My only hope is Mark Bloom is able to get the super tall Four Seasons that has been proposed, but I am sure it will end up being 20 stories and 200 feet.

My guess is JWM will be 33 stories and 350 feet, and the companion tower will be between 23 and 25 stories 250 and 275 feet. I hope i am wrong on that.

PHofKS, I always said a skyscraper was 300+, so back in 1967 or 1968 when my dad brought me downtown for the first time and I saw the L&C Tower, we had one skyscraper.   The fact the TNB Building, now the Service Source Building was such a disappointment at 20 stories and 292 feet. They could have at least broke 300!

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If it weren't for the housing crash in 2008 we would've had a 1000+ footer in Signature Tower. I don't think there's anything keeping us from having a taller building, it just hasn't happened yet. 

I would keep an eye out for Hensler's next residential tower. With TwelveTwelve being a major success his next project may be a lot more daring. 

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^I thought the FAA never gave approval to the Sig Tower in its 1k foot glory ?

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^I thought the FAA never gave approval to the Sig Tower in its 1k foot glory ?

The FAA couldn't stop it from getting built. But you also don't want your building to be labeled an aviation hazard. 

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The FAA couldn't stop it from getting built. But you also don't want your building to be labeled an aviation hazard. 

Especially if you live there! 

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We've been through this roughly every 6 months.

My take on the Louisville Omni, $139mil in city and state subsidies is being used for one, ONE hotel. I'd take ours over this alleged 400-footer with massive subsidies any day. 

The 1980s were the epitome of grand, massive skyscrapers but look at what happened to some cities that built during that time, like Dallas, with very high vacancy rates that are just now coming down. Granted Dallas, where I'm moving to in October, is a completely different economic beast.

Charlotte was a financial powerhouse, hence their skyline is a majority of office towers. Austin is a tried and true high rise residential city now, Nashville is still entering that specific phase. 

 

I giggle at folks that judge a city on a skyline or make general comments, oh please, you're not here for that and never were, so that doesn't even matter. Look at Miami, they have some interesting buildings but they're overall boxes with balconies and flat roofs.  

 

Quite frankly though, why do we need to continually bring this up because I think most of us on here are quite familiar with your views.

Edited by NashRugger
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This does bother me as well Nashville has long lack behind other cities large towers and great architecture a very inspiring impressive,  

 

It takes the word art out of the architecture because developers are not creative they're just building for function but how come we can't have both

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I will agree with the above, so many projects, not just here, are unimaginative boxes striving for LEED certification. I mean The Pinnacle is a very nice tower because there's nothing else like it on the skyline, at least until Bridgestone is delivered. 

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One of the reasons I'm excited about the JW Marriott.  Nothing else in Nashville has that somewhat cylindrical shape the JWM will have.

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Funny the Omni in Louisville will be 30+ stories and 450+, while we are a much larger city and we got 21 stories and 260 feet! Austin got an 18 Story Hyatt Place, and we got 13.  Tony told me once Viridian was supposed to be 36 stories and around 450, but the city told him he could not block the L&C letters. The Renaissance was supposed to be 42 instead of 31 (33 with maintenance floor and roof). They cancelled the 11 floors of condos because the city did not think he could sell them,  and did not want to zone Commerce Street with Residential.

The list goes on and on of what could have been. My only hope is Mark Bloom is able to get the super tall Four Seasons that has been proposed, but I am sure it will end up being 20 stories and 200 feet.

My guess is JWM will be 33 stories and 350 feet, and the companion tower will be between 23 and 25 stories 250 and 275 feet. I hope i am wrong on that.

PHofKS, I always said a skyscraper was 300+, so back in 1967 or 1968 when my dad brought me downtown for the first time and I saw the L&C Tower, we had one skyscraper.   The fact the TNB Building, now the Service Source Building was such a disappointment at 20 stories and 292 feet. They could have at least broke 300!

Pretty sure it was confirmed on SSC that the height of the proposed Louisville Omni is 369 feet. There's a rendering of it with the height in this article that was posted on SSC.  

Although I've always found Omni's decision to build small in Nashville puzzling, it's difficult for me to be upset about it given the amount of projects and interest we currently have from all sorts of hotels. As short-sighted as it was on their part, it seems to be working out in Nashville's favor given the sheer volume of hotel announcements we've had since then. We just don't have any building tall yet.

Re: Louisville, I was there a couple of weeks ago. I've always found it to be a charming and somewhat underrated Southern city with huge swaths of beautiful, historic architecture that we'd love to have in Nashville. However, in terms of activity and vibrancy, their downtown is more like the Nashville of the '90's compared to the Nashville of today. I think they're hoping that spending a massive amount of money on a project like their Omni proposal could be one of the tickets to seeing the sort of downtown vibrancy we currently have along with the developers' interest from all over the nation that we're currently experiencing. 

Re: Austin, they have been consistently growing at such a fast clip that it really should not be much of a surprise that their new towers have more height. They're still adding way more people than Nashville. 

Edited by ariesjow
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Can anyone explain why the city shoots down every single towers height , and make up a stupid reason why it should not be build as originally planned

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Has the city actually struck down some proposal due to height and forced a redesign? I was under the impression that economic factors have been the reasons for most of the drastic changes to designs or downright cancellation of projects in the last several years.

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Has the city actually struck down some proposal due to height and forced a redesign? I was under the impression that economic factors have been the reasons for most of the drastic changes to designs or downright cancellation of projects in the last several years.

No, I can't recall any time the city has had a developer go back to the table, especially due to height.

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Nashville has a long history of going through less-severe real estate downturns than many other cities.  This is in large part because of a conservative local development community.  Though it does reduce the number of super tall jaw dropping buildings, the benefits of a historically low vacancy rate across asset classes and quicker than average rebounds from recessions outweigh the negatives.  

Put another way, a Downtown-Gulch-Midtown core with a lot of 20-30 story development that includes scores of residents, tourists, office workers, retail shoppers, buzzing streets at all hours, attractive streetscapes, bike lanes, transit, parks, civic institutions... in my mind this is more important than 20 extra stories on a handful of downtown skyscrapers.  Atlanta, for instance, has lots of 500+ ft buildings in the CBD.  But I'd rather work/live/visit downtown Nashville any day of the week.  

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No, I can't recall any time the city has had a developer go back to the table, especially due to height.

I thought I heard that Tony wanted to make the encore much taller but they wouldn't let him. I recall some years back someone wanted to build a quite tall building on west end. I think where the Barnes and noble is, but weren't allowed to because it was too tall. And I've read on this board that one of the surface parking lots downtown, like 2nd and church? Was proposed for a building but it was shot down because it was too tall.

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Well...if you're not building directly in the CBD, I'm pretty sure there's a height variance...so that would be pretty much telling someone they can't build any height they want.  Even just across KVB from the MCC they are wanting to keep it fairly short, in comparison to the rest of downtown, right?

 I don't know about the rest of SoBro and whether or not there is a ceiling...but it would be nice to either get something that gets us over the flat-top look...or at least build something with some pizzazz...ala JWM.

Edited by titanhog
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I thought I heard that Tony wanted to make the encore much taller but they wouldn't let him. I recall some years back someone wanted to build a quite tall building on west end. I think where the Barnes and noble is, but weren't allowed to because it was too tall. And I've read on this board that one of the surface parking lots downtown, like 2nd and church? Was proposed for a building but it was shot down because it was too tall.

this is what I mean , it's very frustrating the developers that want to come here and invest in our city has to jump through major hurdles to get whatever they had originally planned to be constructed to original design why does every tower have to go through this only in Nashville it seems like the sobro tower was one of the only few tower where it didn't have to be reduced are changed

Im I'm actually surprised skyhouse got off the ground at 25 stories,  is sad but that's the man said the city has had for so long very restricted

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The Encore issue is back when SoBro had a height restriction of 220ft or so, The Pinnacle got a variance and then they revisited the issue and removed it for a good chunk of SoBro. 

 

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No, I can't recall any time the city has had a developer go back to the table, especially due to height.

- City Lights is a PRIME example of where the developer went back to the drawing board and started over
- Encore was reduced 3 floors due to the original SoBro zoning (then Bass, Berry, & Sims came along and height restrictions vanished)

- The proposal for the empty lot on Church from 1st to 2nd had a proposal for 25(?) tower and was ADAMANTLY denied because of height and historic site .... only 3 stories please ...
- Viridian was lowered a few floors so the L&C letters were not blocked .... that only partially worked
- American Center on West End was supposed to be a 25 story office tower. Residents complain, and result is two buildings at 11 and 12 stories
- And of course there is a building proposed by Southern Land in Green Hills .....

Just to name a few for you!

Edited by farm_boy
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