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nashville_bound

Downtown Movie Theatre

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As a new downtown resident to Nashville I find it a little strange that not only is there no downtown movie theatre, but I have heard of no future plans to develop one in the city center.

I relocated from Knoxville, a city 1/3 as large as Nashville, and they are moving forward with a multi-screen Regal theatre in the center of downtown. I realize that Regal Corp is in Knoxville but the city is offering development grants and special taxing rebates to make it viable. We all know about the 22-screen Muvico in downtown Memphis. And heck even Chattanooga has a kick-butt theatre in the transit center downtown.

Is there a political or historical reason for the oversight or do you believe that it is not an economically viable project? I would love to see one incorporated with the retail elements of the new Sounds development (ala Memphis).

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Good point, NB, I have been perplexed by this absence as well. I know there had been mention of an art house movie theatre in the Gulch, but who knows if that is still being considered. I think when any type of retail is mentioned for downtown, the first thing that people (retailers) think of is the old Church Street Center--that probably still goes a long way towards scaring any would be developers away.

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I think it has to do with the way population is spread around K-town compared to Nashville. In the surrounding area of downtown Knoxville there is a large population (many of which are 18-30): Fort Sanders, south Knoxville (right across Henley Street bridge), the neighborhoods around Broadway (4th and Gill, and St. Mary's Hospital area), Sequoia hills (older wealthier population), and even Mechanicsville. These areas of Knoxville are centrally located, and, as you know from being from Knoxville, must drive long distances (scaled to Knoxville) away from the downtown area to go the movies: East Town and West Town mall, Downtown West, and Farrugut. Nashville (scaled by its size) did not, until recently, have a large or growing population very close to its DT. Additionally, large theaters like Green Hills and super movie complexes like Hollywood 26 are built just close enough to central areas of town that they meet the needs of a lot of people in the area: Green hills, Belmont, Hillsboro, West End, etc. I used to live inside 640-loop in Knox too. I know, on average, I use to hate driving to West Town Mall to go see a flick(or anything for that matter). I moved right when DT Knoxville was getting cool. For that area, a vibrant DT was badly needed to balance out the options for professionals, college students, and everyday people who live in the inner city compared to the west side of town.

BTW, I wish Nashville DT had acouple of pubs like McLeod

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'SSJ' - I agree a film festival in DT would be great...the Gulch would be perfect.

I was not here for the Church Street retail history...what were are the details? Thanks

'KS77' - 'I agree Knoxville

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I had heard at one time there were thoughts of a mixed use building containing a theater at the site of the old Madrell museum. The investors were going to put a Ritz there but 9/11 messed that up. Parking is another big concern because of people had to pay 5 bucks to park plus the movie and snacks it would not be as popular of a location. Its all hinges on how many people move downtown and also making it convient to Vanderbilt and Belmont colleges

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Church Street Center was a mall in the 90s where the current public library is. It was a ghost town and a failure. It closed to little fanfare, I can't remember when exactly, and sat vacant until the library came. It became the poster child for why downtown retail was a bad risk.

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Downtown retail will remain a risk until there is a residential core to support the retail, or for that matter, a theater. Really, why would anyone drive downtown to shop or see a movie when they can do the same at their local mall?

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Agreed, We need a good Pop. core in the DT area. Although, I think that is what is happening right now. If i could I would love to live in the DT area. But in the furture, I think the gulch would be cool for a indie theater, much like the Belcourt.

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At one time the site of the Symphony Center was considered for a larger theater complex. It was also to be the site of some residential brownstones. With Green Hills, Belcourt, and Hollywood 27 so close to downtown, I would imagine the critical mass in the core will have to increase substantially before a complex is considered. Personally, I wouldn't want a large complex anywhere nearer the core than the Gulch. I think anything downtown should max out at an intimate number and not emulate anything remotely related to suburban centers. Egad. A cool 4-6 screens in a moderately sized building showing the "good stuff" would be great.

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I agree there needs to be a residential 'core' to support movie/retail growth. I guess my initial question is compared to the three other cities listed (Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis) how far away are we at the current pace?

I think with all of the additional tourist traffic DT Nashville draws combined with a growing residential base a plan would be proposed. There is always a year or two delay until a project is ready for prime time and by then DT Nashville should really be busting out.

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At one time the site of the Symphony Center was considered for a larger theater complex. It was also to be the site of some residential brownstones. With Green Hills, Belcourt, and Hollywood 27 so close to downtown, I would imagine the critical mass in the core will have to increase substantially before a complex is considered. Personally, I wouldn't want a large complex anywhere nearer the core than the Gulch. I think anything downtown should max out at an intimate number and not emulate anything remotely related to suburban centers. Egad. A cool 4-6 screens in a moderately sized building showing the "good stuff" would be great.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree...the Knoxville Regal to be built DT incorporates a historically protected building facade. Ii will be 8 screens and incorporate additional retail at the street level.

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here in downtown okc there is a harkins 16 and retail, 2 arenas, hotels and much more. all doing very well with a very small residential core. sure a large res. core would make things even better. i'm sure you'll get one soon enough.

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I'm sure downtown Nashville will get a cinema at some point--next 2-3 yrs. at the most.

Going way back--in 1979 my wife flew to Houston from New Orleans for a job interview downtown. She got there about 3 hours early with time to kill, so she looked for a movie to go to. Right. In that huge city at that time there was not one theater downtown.

Btw--the Peabody Place cinema in Memphis was a project unrelated to the baseball stadium.

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as said before, there are simply too many big theaters surrounding nashville to open one up down town. there is the massive hollywood 27, thorougbred 20, oprymills 20, and greenhills 16. that's a total of 83 screens(plus one imax), some of which can hold 300-400 people, in just 4 theaters. that's not even counting the smaller ones scattered around the city. it'll be a while before we get a theater. besides, i'd rather see live entertainment downtown (plays, symphony, sports, music etc.....).

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n-bound, walk down to the library's nashville room and check out the theaters that were once a stone's throw from your place. The Crescent, Paramount, and Tennessee were all located on Church Street. I'm really glad I'm old enough to remember the downtown movie experience. Downtown had something for everyone back then, and everyone came.

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n-bound, walk down to the library's nashville room and check out the theaters that were once a stone's throw from your place. The Crescent, Paramount, and Tennessee were all located on Church Street. I'm really glad I'm old enough to remember the downtown movie experience. Downtown had something for everyone back then, and everyone came.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Same experiences here.

I remember in Junior High taking the bus with my friends 10 miles all the way from East Memphis downtown in 1965 to see the local opening of the Beatles movie "Help".

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Downtown Nashville had dozens of movie theaters from 1930 to the 1970's, It was the suburban thinking that drove people away. When poor Nashvillians moved to the city to find work, the wealthy white business people moved out of town, now the reverse is true. Middle class blacks and Hispanics are moving to the suburbs and the wealthy Nashvillians are moving back into the city and into places like the Viridian and the condo's on West End. It goes in cycles. Yes, there will be a movie theater downtown in the next five years.

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