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it's just dave

Encore has to wait...

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Tony G. is going to have to wait until March 2 for a zoning variance for the Encore tower in SoBro. It seems the current regulations would prevent a tower of that height from being built in SoBro, for now. In 1998, certain restrictions were removed from most of the downtown core removing a rule regarding setbacks and height, but the rule is still in effect for SoBro.

I respect the Zoning Commission in that they do a good job of interpreting rules and often realize changes have to be made. The fact that they don't just jump on any request is commendable. I feel what this will do will cause a new study of SoBro and how the rules, as they stand, will apply or how amendments and changes will need to be made. I think Encore is important to the area, but in order to retain our vision for SoBro, height variances should be given only after good study and discussion. It's important that buildings be built to street-level pedestrian standards.

I think Tony will get his variance and that Encore can proceed. Currently, Metro's planning department recommends a building max of 20 stories if the residential portion is 75% or more residential. The stated height for Encore is 23 stories, 253 feet.

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar.../601200377/1003

It's interesting living in a city where restrictions and rules have to be constantly studied to accomodate an exciting change in environment. Doing it right is very important and after watching the Zoning Board meetings, they do have my respect although I've been disappointed on a few occasions with denying variances on something I thought would be cool, but perhaps wouldn't be the right thing for a given space. Let's hope Encore is given its variance. I think this one will work.

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It seems to me that any other city would jump at the chance to have 300 new condos where there are none right now. I'm sure Atlanta would have.

I find this baffling. This building is not that tall, and it is downtown after all.

However, if this article can be believed, then it does explain why buildings in dt Nashville didn't exceed a certain height (30-something flooors?) until 1998.

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I really hope they don't have to scale this building down. It would really cramp my daydreaming of tall buildings popping up around downtown. This building is really exciting, though, the beginning of a new downtown neighborhood--history in the making. What an exciting time to be alive in Nashville.

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^^ I noticed that, Smeagolsfree. That's pretty amazing, since it's an $80 million project. Tony really is adept at the development game. Results speak volumes of course, and he has shown results.

Pardon me for being a lawyer in this post. I'm naturally argumentative.

To clarify on my beef with the BZA:

I realize that this thing may pass after all and the board needs full and complete information. Furthermore, I understand that a public body like this never wants to be perceived as a rubber stamp. I also understand the need for zoning regs, and each project should be evaluated on its merits. But I would caution them not to blanket the whole process (see points 2 & 3) and deny what looks like a reasonable and legitimate proposal. After all, this isn't a request for a 50 story building.

Having said that, I think the following need to be considered.

1. The most pedestrian friendly areas of Nashville have the tallest buildings (i.e. downtown north of Broad). So how does a 35' height extension over the current limit diminish the walkability (or sunlight) in that area of downtown? If this were the 40 story building that's been mentioned for the property next door, then I'd understand hesitancy on the BZA's part. Furthermore, if the height limits were lessened in other parts of downtown, then why did they see fit to do so? And why wouldn't the same reasoning apply to this area?

2. As that area of Nash becomes more crowded, then the cost of land will rise. Consequently, the only way that some projects will be feasible will require that they go higher. Will this be allowed in the future? If not, then where will projects like the Peabody go, if they're not allowed to go higher than 8-9 stories? Additionally, why was Icon granted a variance and this project may not? Are they that far apart?

3. Finally, I think anybody who has a serious proposal of this size at this point in time should be afforded some sort of "First Mover" privileges. In other words, as more developers jump on the bandwagon, then the BZA can be more discriminating via the appeals process (not discriminatory). At this point, that area of town does need density. The low rise development is already in the pipeline (RHM).

Dave, you're right about the whole process being interesting and, I believe, ultimately in the best public interest, but I think these leaders should be careful not to create an antidevelopment perception toward Nashville by would-be developers (a la David Briley). With the obstacles to the ballpark and now the potential for trouble with this project, then it's quite possible. By the way, didn't a previous proposal in this block get nixed by the developers (in the 90s) b/c the city put up too many obstacles?

OK, so I'm done. (deep breath) :)

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Nashville really needs some young movers and shakers on these committees; people who are not afraid of change. Why are they so tight on building heights in this city? That is something I just do not understand.

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I see this flying through the ranks. With no TIF money or messy property acquisition involved, it would look really bad if the BZA forced a major overhaul of the plan. I think the main problem is that, since the first so-bro planning charette in the mid-90's, this area has been perceived as ideal for no more than mid-rise buildings. Since the demand for more than that is obvious, I think it involves a shift in mindset of those who have been involved since that time.

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I agree, the possibility of an antidevelopment perception worries me. Struever Bros. have already expressed some frustration in the past on getting the Sounds deal going, and I know that could just be negotiation posturing, but you don't want to run off a developer like that.

Hopefully the BZA is just being wise and cautious--after watching the council meeting on the Sounds deal I feel less trusting of the common sense of these groups. There for a little while it looke like they were going to try and make the Sounds thing just go away for as long as possible. Although, I have watched the BZA a bit on channel 3, and they always seem thorough and not hesitant at all to send someone back to the drawing board to make sure that all bases are covered.

Considering the unprecedented momentum downtown, I would think that past hurdles--whatever they may have been--would be less apt to stop projects from happening now.

Agreed also: bring on the movers and shakers to the committees and let the city take off. How about an ambitious mayor to go along? I think Purcell gets ripped more than he should. He had a tall order following Bredesen--but I think he has been great----sidewalks--dt residential boom--sidewalks--town square/Courthouse--sidewalks--the Gulch--and before he leaves office he will bring significant retail dt (at least the beginning of it)--oh yeah and sidewalks.

I like Howard Gentry a lot--but do you think he is ambitious enough? does he have the leadership? One thing's for sure, its about time we had a non-white mayor. How about this motto--ABB--Anyone But Briley. :sick:

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Why do people see mid-rise as such a good thing? no one is beating down Nashville's door to build a mid-rise neighborhood in SoBro. Some mid-rise is needed and some tall is needed and then some very intimate short buildings are needed to make the city feel real.

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I knew that Nashville had a height limit for CBD, but what I did not know is that the height limit had been lifted. I was wondering how buildings like Signature and the 70 story hotel was still up for proposal. So the height limit was scraped in "98", that's good news. I have heard several myths on why Nashville had the height limit. Some sound believable and others sound stupid, so here are some I

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To me this zoning process is a bit strange. I agree with the notion that the board probably doesn't want to look like it is bending over backward to allow the increase. I think they want to be perceived as having really studied the issue and all it's ramifications before granting a variance, even if the majority has every intent of granting the variance. I personally think the variance will be granted in March, and the project will move forward. It's pretty evident from this project, and the convention center project which could spawn some really big highrise projects in SoBro, that lifting the restriction would be in the best interest of the city.

By the way, this thing just keeps growing. When it was first announced it was only 20 stories. Later, when it was first announced on Tony G's website it had grown to 21 stories. Now it's up to 23 stories. Who knows? Maybe it will be up to 25 stories or so by March. :rolleyes:

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1. I heard that the height limit was set when L&C Tower was being negotiation. The developer wanted his tower to be the tallest and remain the tallest in Nashville; So Nashville set a height limit at 31 stories so that no other building could exceed the L&C Tower.

2. I have heard that Nashville's CBD could not exceed 31 stories (L&C towers height was used for the limit) due to the airport and Air Traffic Controls. If Nashville were to exceed the limit then air traffic would have to be rerouted.

3. I have also heard that the limit was set due to earthquakes. I've never felt one around here, but how know.

4. I

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Yeah, they all sound a bit odd, but to tell you the truth, I've lived in this town since 1954 and up until I started reading posts, I'd never heard of a height limit for whatever reason. Guess I was busy.

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I like Howard Gentry a lot--but do you think he is ambitious enough? does he have the leadership? One thing's for sure, its about time we had a non-white mayor. How about this motto--ABB--Anyone But Briley. :sick:

Ken Blackwell, oui ! David Dinkins, NON ! :D

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I've always wondered why Nashville was so passive on large scale developments in downtown. :angry: If Atlanta had the same way of thinking like Nashville with height restrictions and everything, It would not be the city that it is now. I think some developers have big visions to there designs and buildings, and they want to put there mark on our skyline. But there are so many restrictions in our city the developers pull their proposles out of the Nashville and go to cities like Atlanta where the sky is the limit.

If Nashville always had that way of thinking, our skyline, densinty, and poulation might could have been 3 times larger than it is now.

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I don't think that's the case. We can't compare Nashville 2005 with Atlanta 2005. That's ludicrous, and I don't want to sound negative. But Nashville is now what Atlanta was 35-40 years ago. There's nothing wrong with Nashville, just give her time to grow up. Isn't it better being in the place now and watching all of this happen than the "now" being consumed by choking traffic, higher crime, lines no matter where you go and a lack of some of that friendliness that makes us what we are. Be patient, we'll get there, but don't wish away the daisy patch for a field of thistles quite yet. I'm not quite through with the Nashville that's home to me. If I wanted a city like Atlanta now, I'd move to Atlanta.

People just can't go around throwing up enormous projects no matter how cool they'll look. They have to be financially responsible and we have to have people fill the spaces. Atlanta has almost 5 million people in the metro. Let's keep things in perspective and enjoy this process now. In 30 years when we can't move around any more, then I guess we can say we've truly arrived...after 3 hours in traffic.

I don't think many developers are pulling out. Now, they're rushing to get in.

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I've always wondered why Nashville was so passive on large scale developments in downtown. :angry: If Atlanta had the same way of thinking like Nashville with height restrictions and everything, It would not be the city that it is now. I think some developers have big visions to there designs and buildings, and they want to put there mark on our skyline. But there are so many restrictions in our city the developers pull their proposles out of the Nashville and go to cities like Atlanta where the sky is the limit.

If Nashville always had that way of thinking, our skyline, densinty, and poulation might could have been 3 times larger than it is now.

Atlanta's problem is more with the horizontal and being the urban equivalent of Pac-Man, gobbling North Georgia en masse. That's one thing I hope Nashville NEVER copies. Let's keep it dense and vertical !

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I don't like the zoning laws here in nashville and I believe Tony has the power to overturn it and I would love to see the skyline in the CBD grow and expand

into the sobro area...

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I don't like the zoning laws here in nashville and I believe Tony has the power to overturn it and I would love to see the skyline in the CBD grow and expand

into the sobro area...

I think your right. Tony G is the man to get it done.

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I have to admit that after watching the re-rerun of the Zoning Hearing for Encore, I was a little frustrated as well. I know they're writing the zoning for this area as we go along, but seems too much emphasis was being put on 3 measly stories when it would have been a no-brainer to just grant the variance for this first big residential project. The way Tony addressed the issues of Almond Street and street level effect, and the fact that the tower is rather thin, setback and will make a minimal streetscape impact because of its height seemed to show that he's not going to just throw up "any old building." I think they should have gone ahead and given him his variance.

I think there's a happy ground that can be met. Vertical and denstiy can work and should work here. Encore seems to have the right redesign with the set back on the high tower, it keeps the streetscape open with little interference from the tower itself. Encore sounds like too good a project to screw up.

It's good that things are argued back and forth and that issues are being tossed around in good brainstorming, but being too steadfast against some projects can indeed possibly kill some of the best developments to come along.

So, when are we going to get some of you guys on these decision-making bodies? Start thinking about it now. I don't think the Zoning people are bad, or unwilling to see the big picture, I just think when it comes down to making a bold pacesetting decision, they're a little weak.

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I don't think that's the case. We can't compare Nashville 2005 with Atlanta 2005. That's ludicrous, and I don't want to sound negative. But Nashville is now what Atlanta was 35-40 years ago. There's nothing wrong with Nashville, just give her time to grow up. Isn't it better being in the place now and watching all of this happen than the "now" being consumed by choking traffic, higher crime, lines no matter where you go and a lack of some of that friendliness that makes us what we are.

I don

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I hate to be a stinker about this...but I agree with the decision to push Encore back from the brink. The building is frankly WAY too tall, and has a far too bland and generic design to be sited right next to the Schermerhorn jewel. It needs to show a little more decorum and at least TRY to be beautiful.

I supported both the Viridian and the Signature, but the Encore needs a redesign. It is ugly. Also, anything taller than eight stories will palpably LOOM over the Schermerhorn. Not cool.

I understand the passion for tall buildings, and everyone agrees that downtown needs as many residents as it can possible get, but this is just getting a little silly. Scale it down, spruce it up. Now that Nashville is really starting to put its urban britches on, we all need to start thinking about that most critical and elusive of architectural and urban qualities, which is a far taller order than coolness or impressiveness or urbanity or progress...

Beauty.

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I hate to be a stinker about this...but I agree with the decision to push Encore back from the brink. The building is frankly WAY too tall, and has a far too bland and generic design to be sited right next to the Schermerhorn jewel. It needs to show a little more decorum and at least TRY to be beautiful.

I supported both the Viridian and the Signature, but the Encore needs a redesign. It is ugly. Also, anything taller than eight stories will palpably LOOM over the Schermerhorn. Not cool.

I understand the passion for tall buildings, and everyone agrees that downtown needs as many residents as it can possible get, but this is just getting a little silly. Scale it down, spruce it up. Now that Nashville is really starting to put its urban britches on, we all need to start thinking about that most critical and elusive of architectural and urban qualities, which is a far taller order than coolness or impressiveness or urbanity or progress...

Beauty.

I don't disagree with your thoughts in general, but I do disagree in this instance that the Encore is ugly, and that it will loom over the Schermerhorn and that that's uncool. The Encore may be bland but is also could be just understated and classy, which I think given its proposed location is a good thing. Like i've stated before, the great thing about urban environments is variety and a sort of visual overload that comes with so many architectural styles and sizes and people and stuff crammed together in a small space. A specific example is the presbyterian church on the corner of 5th and Church. It's a magnificent building that is in no way diminished by being surrounded by skyscrapers (baby skyscrapers?).

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This is one of those moments I have spoken of before. You know, one of those where you wished that you could smack every member of the board in the face and say, "shut up and just pass it!!!!" LOL!!!

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