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bzorch

Car Lots on Broadway

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I was walking to work last week and took some photos of the Car lots on Broadway. A month or so ago, there was a thread on the missed opportunity for these lots. So I threw this together. What a difference it would make!

car%20dealer.jpg

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Nice photo. I would hate to see the car lots go. Yeah those lots have plenty of potential but potential for what? A thousand more condos I would have no where near enough money to afford. I think Nashville has way to many blighted areas for us to want to destroy something that has been a part of broadway as long as Country Music. Condos and retail space would look nice but I think it would be taking away from something unique.

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I, on the other hand, would like to see MORE neon. Something even more unique and attracive for the car lots.

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Yeah, I certainly don't begrudge the car lots for being there. They own the land and are no doubt very successfull. But I wouldn't mind in the least if they sold and moved elsewhere. It's probably only a matter of time, maybe in the next generation, they'll get an offer that can't be refused. I wonder how much the land is valued?

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i think that the car lots add a lot of character downtown. plus, with more people moving downtown, it's probably a good idea to have them in a close location. granted, some people living downtown might not need a car, but this is nashville. haha. i agree with lexy, i would like to see some more neon on the signs too. especially the beaman pontiac sign. i love that indian.

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Yeah, I certainly don't begrudge the car lots for being there. They own the land and are no doubt very successfull. But I wouldn't mind in the least if they sold and moved elsewhere. It's probably only a matter of time, maybe in the next generation, they'll get an offer that can't be refused. I wonder how much the land is valued?

My sentiments exactly. I think the days are numbered before those lots are sold because I expect the land values to continue to go up to such a point that they would be crazy not to sell. Imagine the money they could make if they sold their lot to a developer of a huge mixed use project, the retail portion of which would be their dealership?

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Using Metro's Property Mapping. It looks like the assessed value today is approximately $2 million an acre. According to the property records this is more expensive than the Encore site. Broadway Realty Co owns most of both sides of the street. I was not suggesting the car dealerships would go away, but could be a part of something larger. The neon signs could stay. At an appraised value of $2 million an acre I would think only the current owners would be able to do anything today that made economic sense. Assuming they own the land out right.

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I don't have any nostalgia for these lots. I think it's really a terrible use of a very prominent part of town--the entry point into the city for many visitors.

Market forces will ultimately relocate most of these dealerships and this property will be put to a different (and I think better) use, which would probably be retail/office/hotel. I don't think many people will cry over the loss of the lots

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I was surprised how much nostalgia these lots generated. I am with you that I would not miss them in the least. Though the idea of having your cake and eating is an interesting idea. The showrooms on the ground floor could be cool with the mechanics and inventory on a nearby remote industrial site. I think the owners could do well to consider the idea. At this point the land seems prohibitively expensive for anyone else. But yes some day it will change. They really do not make a great gateway. A few more floors makes all the difference.

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Yeah I'm also kinda amazed that people actually like these lots. Aside from a couple buildings, none of the structures are attractive. None of them are dense (most are just one - two stories). All of them come attached with surface parking lots that tend to line broadway. The neon signs are just tacky in my opinion and I see no reason of keeping them.

With the bristol on broadway just down the street, and WES going up across the street, don't you think that this property has AMAZING potential. This is a part of town that is increasingly become denser and has the possibility of connecting west end with downtown - why are low-density car dealerships and parking lots the best use? I just don't understand.

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I don't like the car lots because they are on prime land in an urban area and don't offer much for pedestrians. I think that area is a mental barrier for people regarding walking between midtown and downtown. Just get that impression. If the dealerships were relpaced with a dense stretch of sidewalk-fronting retail and residential [certain downtown sections of Peachtreet Street in ATL come to mind], walking between midtown and downtown would be a much better experience for the pedestrian. Also if developed thoughtfully, it could become a very nice gateway into downtown from the west. In the future, I could see redevelopment of these properties happening as a result of synergy created by the success of the Gulch nearby. What if the convention center were to be built in the Gulch as some prefer? Potentially, all of this land could eventually be involved due to its proximity. Are the car lots a good site for the convention center? Just a thought; I dont know if there's enough room there. I know many folks here like the car lots, and I totally respect that. They just don't do much for me personally. A few years ago, I was driving with a former co-worker born and raised in NYC. Her impression as we drove by the Broadway car lots? "It's so suburban!" She loves Nashville, but I think she was surprised to see car dealerships and parking lots there.

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I call it the "Gauntlet" on my walk to work. Between the car dealerships and the Frist Center is the worst part of the walk to downtown. Lately, I have decided to take Demonbreun. I can not wait until the Demonbreun Bridge is finished. There are no pedestrian facilities at the interstate exit ramps and no one is expecting a pedestrian. The thought of the convention center crossed my mind, but I think the hang up are the lack of hotel rooms and proximity to other venues. Nothing a LRT system could not fix.

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^ Hehe, I braved those interstate exit ramps on Broadway many times on walks between downtown and West End. I can really symphathize with you having to brave that chaos at those ramps.

I don't understand why they don't have pedestrian signs and crosswalk lights there. Seems a very easy and sensible thing to do. Then again the numbers of us who have regulary made that walk are probably pretty small. LOL

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Almost every night when I walk home from Vandy to the Bristol on Broadway, I catch a glimpse of the neon signs fronting the car dealerships on Upper Broad. In the old car dealerships thread I talked about why I like the lots: they're a nostalgiac symbol of an American industry in its good days. Walking home tonight with warm temps and a clear sky, I decided it was a good night to take pictures. Being a grad student and single, running in the street with my camera was about as much action as I was gonna get anyway.

Jim Reed:

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Too bad the Isuzu sign is attached.

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Beaman:

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Needs some repair.

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And just for kicks, the Orbison Building

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Walking around "the Gaunlet," as bzorch calls it, this evening made me think that the Upper Broad car dealerships have just about as much character as those in Franklin--with the exception of the neon. Man, I love the neon. But beyond that, the buildings are just crap. I enjoy looking at the dealerships when I drive by, but the pedestrian feel in this area is truly for the birds. Unlike some, though, I don't see the dealerships vacating any time soon. The WES site is next to Jim Reed, and I got excited looking at the empty lot wondering what it would make the corner look like (hopefully) in a few years.

Some day I'll learn how to work my camera and take pictures at night. Hope you guys enjoy these.

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What a beautiful night for a walk. The neon is unique and should be kept, and it could be reused on new buildings with car dealerships on the first floor with office and/or residential above. Thanks for posting the photos. I don't know what it is but I always like the Orbison building on that side. At the current prices, it seems only the owners will able to do anything with the property.

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I agree with you, Tom. About 15 or so years ago, the very last of a cluster of old GM dealerships just south of Lenox fell to progress. There was even a big old neon Pontiac Indian (can I say that anymore?). And the Buick dealership across the street used to have the only convertibles built by any domestic company. Foreign makes weren't nearly the force they are now. Pretty incredible when I think of my Dad who only bought Pontiacs or Oldsmobiles and my mother with Caddys (that was off limits to the rest of the family :) ) now only buy Hondas and Lexus. Times have changed. So I get the warm and fuzzies when I see those old signs on Broadway. I believe there is also an old neon Chevy bowtie in one of those buildings too.

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i think that the car lots add a lot of character downtown. plus, with more people moving downtown, it's probably a good idea to have them in a close location. granted, some people living downtown might not need a car, but this is nashville. haha. i agree with lexy, i would like to see some more neon on the signs too. especially the beaman pontiac sign. i love that indian.

I have to say, I like having them there -- it is kind of unique. And I, too, especially like the Beaman Indian, and the big Jim Reed showroom windows on Church.

But here's the big plus for me.. We live downtown and had to take our Mazda to the dealership the other day. Guess where the dealership is? Cool Springs! Multiple trips, several days blown all to kingdom come for two people, traffic was a mess, lots of stress.. Makes me think a nice new Beaman or Hippodrome car wouldn't be such a bad idea. I'd say "please don't move all the car dealerships out to the 'burbs!"

David

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... I don't know what it is but I always like the Orbison building on that side.

I was walking by this building yesterday and was reminded of how much I dig its old-new mix. I especially like the windows on the east side. I just wish they would paint the building a less-bland color.

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I was in the same opinion at one time that they were a waist of real estate, but my view has change somewhat. I do think they ad to the area and are going to be good for all the folks who are moving downtown. It would be a pain to drive all the way to Cool Springs to have a car worked on. I was also reminded by William that Beaman and Reed are good corporate citizens. You have to agree that the land they are sitting on is worth tens of millions of dollars.

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