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markhollin

Three Thirty Three, 5 story, 69,000 sq. ft. office/11,000 sq. ft. retail, 11th Ave. South & Pine, The Gulch

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1 hour ago, Leif said:

I'm not really concerned about the bridge so much because of the homeless issue, though I know it is a concern that has been voiced.  I just think it is a expensive boondoggle now that the stairs/elevator exists in Crossings. I'd advocate taking that 30 million or whatever it is presently and putting it into homeless programs, affordability programs, etc. I don't think it is a simple deal to reallocate the funds but I think there are better uses 4-5 years on from the bridge's first announcement.

If it makes you feel better, I hear the bridge is probably going to end up a lot cheaper than it is now.

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On 8/1/2018 at 1:50 PM, Leif said:

I'm not really concerned about the bridge so much because of the homeless issue, though I know it is a concern that has been voiced.  I just think it is a expensive boondoggle now that the stairs/elevator exists in Crossings. I'd advocate taking that 30 million or whatever it is presently and putting it into homeless programs, affordability programs, etc. I don't think it is a simple deal to reallocate the funds but I think there are better uses 4-5 years on from the bridge's first announcement.

If we're using Monopoly money, I think the bridge is a really cool idea and would be a very nice piece for the neighborhood. But in terms of practicality and cost-benefit, I don't really see it as worth it. Sure, psychologically, it could make one feel a little more connected to downtown, because it would create a straighter shot from the middle of the Gulch to the MCC and Bridgestone Arena...but if you do the math, the amount of steps it would save you is minimal. Enough so that if you are walking that distance already, it's not going to make a difference between your decision to go or not, or walk rather than drive/ride.

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I share the sentiments above from @BnaBreaker in that the viaduct provides a very poor pedestrian experience which undoubtedly has some generally discouraging effect on pedestrian traffic. However, as I sit in my office overlooking Demonbreun, I decided to observe for a few moments to get an idea of the actual volume of foot traffic over a given period of time.

Over the past ten minutes, I have observed nearly 100 individuals crossing between the Gulch and Downtown without the use of an automobile; approximately 90 on foot, ten via bicycle, and one random skateboard. It seems like there's always at least one pedestrian somewhere along the span at any given time.

While my observations are hardly scientific and obviously skewed by the fact that it is a sunny Summer Friday afternoon, it is hardly a no-man's land.

Edited by Vrtigo
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I cross the viaduct 4 or more times in a day...it is no impediment to someone wanting to go to and from the Gulch and SoBro.

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I think the funds allocated for this bridge would be better spent improving the pedestrian experience (sidewalks, crossings, safety) in parts of the city that have little or no existing pedestrian infrastructure, or are in dire need of upgrades due to existing pedestrian traffic. This bridge is being pushed too early--it's the icing for a cake that's still baking.

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21 hours ago, Vrtigo said:

I share the sentiments above from @BnaBreaker in that the viaduct provides a very poor pedestrian experience which undoubtedly has some generally discouraging effect on pedestrian traffic. However, as I sit in my office overlooking Demonbreun, I decided to observe for a few moments to get an idea of the actual volume of foot traffic over a given period of time.

Over the past ten minutes, I have observed nearly 100 individuals crossing between the Gulch and Downtown without the use of an automobile; approximately 90 on foot, ten via bicycle, and one random skateboard. It seems like there's always at least one pedestrian somewhere along the span at any given time.

While my observations are hardly scientific and obviously skewed by the fact that it is a sunny Summer Friday afternoon, it is hardly a no-man's land.

Seconded, I wish they'd widen at least one side of the sidewalk because it gets high volume on a nice afternoon.  And Demonbruen is one of the better pedestrian crossing  experiences around, comparitively.

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On 8/3/2018 at 12:27 AM, BnaBreaker said:

I would argue that the psychology (and safety) of the pedestrian is far more important to consider than distance when establishing physical connections.   Accessing The Gulch via the Demonbreun Street viaduct may be roughly the same distance physically,  but visually and psychologically The Gulch could seem a world away from Broadway and Sobro, especially for tourists unfamiliar with the area.  I think they'd be far more willing to venture out and make the trek if the pedestrian bridge was there as they could use that as a visual beacon... an invitation, in a way... to come explore The Gulch.    Having positive visual sight lines between The Gulch and downtown would do wonders, in my opinion, for the cause of creating cohesion and improving the physical connections between the two neighborhoods as well in the form of increased development and aesthetic improvements.  In that way, I think a pedestrian bridge would pay vast dividends now and into the future that far outweigh the initial construction costs, and prove to play a much more important role in the city than simply a way to get from point A to point B.  

For a city with a little bit of a budget pinch right now, how much of a priority should this bridge be? I just feel like there are more worthy uses for that kind of coin in this city at this time. 

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While I agree with @BnaBreaker that this bridge will be an important piece of the city's infrastructure, I'm not exactly sure it is a priority for the city. Now if the city somehow was able to create an incentive for its construction to Zach Leif (Cummins Owner) to build it with private money, that's a different story. In my opinion, I think the money that would otherwise be used for the bridge should be redirected to Lower Broadway to finish out the pedestrian improvement projects down there. The Gulch is popular and is used by many residents (most important) and tourists (economic drivers) alike, but there are plenty of connections including the Demonbruen stairs. Correct me if I am wrong though, but weren't the stairs up to the Demonbruen viaduct created with private monies? If that is the case, why not make the bridge a stipulation of one of Zach's grand plan buildings for the neighborhood?

Edited by Bos2Nash
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1 minute ago, FrankNash said:

The bridge is to be paid for by fees on  gulch land owners.

Not quite true. It was to be paid for with TIF, which are taxes that would otherwise go into the general fund. 

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1 minute ago, samsonh said:

Not quite true. It was to be paid for with TIF, which are taxes that would otherwise go into the general fund. 

They won't go in the general fund if the developments aren't built and/or improved. Part of the justification is that an amenity like this spurs significant development activity around it. As an example, Ascend is a huge catalyst for all the development along 1st St. If it was still a thermal plant, those buildings wouldn't be built and that business would go somewhere else, maybe Cool Springs.

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This is a perfect example of TIF being misused....

This area is booming and needs no continued incentives.

IMO, TIF must return to its intended purpose, to spur redevelopment in challenged areas of the city.

 

9 minutes ago, AronG said:

They won't go in the general fund if the developments aren't built and/or improved. Part of the justification is that an amenity like this spurs significant development activity around it. As an example, Ascend is a huge catalyst for all the development along 1st St. If it was still a thermal plant, those buildings wouldn't be built and that business would go somewhere else, maybe Cool Springs.

 

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12 minutes ago, AronG said:

They won't go in the general fund if the developments aren't built and/or improved. Part of the justification is that an amenity like this spurs significant development activity around it. As an example, Ascend is a huge catalyst for all the development along 1st St. If it was still a thermal plant, those buildings wouldn't be built and that business would go somewhere else, maybe Cool Springs.

Once the improvement to the property are made the 'Incremental' tax pays off the loans, then after the loan is paid off it goes back in the General fund. The proposal for the gulch bridge proposed taking some of those funds once the original loans were paid off and diverting it to the bridge. These are the buildings involved:

 

  • ICON: 417-unit condominium and mixed-use project
  • Mercury Loft: 52,000-square-foot retail development with 32 apartments
  • Gulch Crossing: 200,000-square-foot office building under construction
  • 1212: 286-unit condominium project under construction
  • 1201 Demonbreun: a 200,000-square-foot office building under construction
  • Laurel: 48-unit residential and retail project
  • Bohan Building: 62,000-square-foot office development

Here is the relevant text: 

  • Under state law, MDHA can continue to collect the increment property tax once the loans are repaid to help fund other infrastructure projects in the redevelopment district.  However, until the cost of the bridge is recovered, Metro will simply keep those funds to recover the cost of the project

From https://www.nashville.gov/News-Media/News-Article/ID/3240/Mayor-Proposes-New-Funding-Strategy-for-GulchSoBro-Pedestrian-Bridge

 

I agree with NB on this being a poor use of funds. 

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19 minutes ago, AronG said:

All true. The case I'm making is that:

(A) The bridge will meaningfully stimulate development on the other side of the tracks (mostly surface parking right now, sending very little $ to the General fund).

(B) The 7 listed properties will generate increased economic activity/tax revenue with easy foot traffic from the newly activated area of Sobro.

(C) The overarching goal of creating and enlarging real pedestrian zones in Nashville is a long-term objective that is worth investing in.

Of course the optics around this weren't super strong back in 2014, and they've only gotten sketchier since then. But if this does get over the hump, I'll wager it's something that people will become fond of, and it will become part of our urban fabric.

Agreed on all three of your points

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3 minutes ago, samsonh said:

Agreed on all three of your points

:tw_hushed: Most shocking internet thread comment of the day. I'm gonna show this to my wife, maybe it'll rub off.

Edited by AronG
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3 hours ago, AronG said:

Demonbreun to me is a perfect demonstration of why we need projects like the pedestrian bridge if we're ever going to get serious about the pedestrian/bike network as a way to get around Nashville. To stroll beside Demonbreun is to get a visceral introduction to the fact that cars are the real purpose and way to get around in this city, as revealed by engineering assumptions. Yes there is a tiny fringe of sidewalk and a line-of-paint "bike lane" inches from the whizzing 40 mph vehicles. So you *can* walk or bike it, and many do (i.e. there's unmet demand for real sidewalks). By the way, you are 100% likely to encounter closures or impedences on either of them for construction, truck deliveries, Uber pickups, etc. Yes people are periodically killed trying to cross to the other side. If you think Demonbreun accommodates pedestrians at all reasonably, it's because Nashville has deadened you to the feeling of normal pedestrian environments.

I think a good way to look at pedestrian infrastructure is how much independence you would allow a child. Would you let them walk a few feet in front of you? Would you clutch them in a death grip? Would you keep them away completely? Demonbreun is somewhere on the bad side of that spectrum. And the only way to make it better would involve taking lanes from car traffic, which makes peoples' heads explode around here. So where possible, completely separated facilities should be built. Properly done, it is an incredible investment in the city, making spaces that define memorable places and enrich peoples' lives in a way that soul-dead projects like the Division St extender never will.

As far as whether it's profligate spending or premature icing, or whatever, they've said over and over that the bridge will be paid for from the "next seven to eight years from revenues generated from Gulch-area project that will benefit most from the bridge, specifically seven residential and commercial developments in the Gulch." It's actually a great way to visualize a simple fact that gets lost in all the complaints about money spent downtown: Dense development funds way better amenities than generic suburbia. There's an actual rational reason why projects like this, Ascend Park, etc. make sense here and not in the far-flung outer reaches of county subdivisions: Downtown generates a huge proportion of our economic activity and hence tax revenue.

Bravo.

On 8/4/2018 at 11:00 PM, UTgrad09 said:

For a city with a little bit of a budget pinch right now, how much of a priority should this bridge be? I just feel like there are more worthy uses for that kind of coin in this city at this time. 

That's fair, but there's always going to be something "better" to invest in when you pit a pedestrian bridge in a one to one comparison with most things in the minds of a vast majority of people.  I mean, let's face it, the issue of 'increasing walkability' isn't exactly sexy and on the front of peoples' minds.  The reality is though, either we are serious about making Nashville a real, functional urban environment that actually works for everyone, or we aren't.  

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