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doormanpoet

Deja Vu anyone?

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William and I have had this discussion many times before, and although I have mentioned various projects in other threads about proposed projects that never happened in the past, for benifit to the newcomers to the site, maybe some review is in order.

With so much announced and yet to break ground, let us all remember the past a little to see what may have been:

1) Nashville City Center 2: Richard Fletcher mentioned in a couple of emails to me that they want to get this done, but "the economics are challenging."

2) Ryman Center: One 47 story Tower surrounded by five 27 story towers on the site where Bellsouth now sits.

3) The Tower @ 7th and Commerce: A 48 story office tower that was planned for 7th and Commerce after the demolition of the old Health and Human Services building.

4) 128 7th Avenue North: A 45 story office tower that would have replaced the James Robertson Apartments.

5) Hotel @ 5th and Union: A 45 story hotel instead of the TPAC Tower.

6) Nashville Tower: A 750 foot observation tower dating back to 1975.

7) Cumberland Tower: A 19 story tower Joe Rodgers planned after he tore down the first skyscraper in Nashville where the Marriott Courtyard sits on 4th and Commerce.

8) The Tower @ the post office: A 19 story tower atop the old downtown post office which is now the Frist Museum.

9) The Lebanon Complex: Four 80 story towers around a 100,000 seat football stadium back in the 1980's to attract an NFL team.

10) Residential Tower @ the Renaissance: Then the Stouffer Hotel. An 11 story condo tower on top of the office tower portion making the building 42 stories. Ted Welch told me at the time it was scrapped because he said the building was tall enough, and no one wanted to live downtown then.

11) Tower on 2nd and Church: A 15 story glass and steel tower where a Centarl Parking lot now sits. The building that was originally there burned.

12) 5th Avenue Parking Center: Tony's original plan for the Signature Tower lot.

13) Harrison Lofts.

14) Midtown Tower 1 and 2: A 20 and 28 story tower complex where Adelicia is now being built.

15) The Marq of Nashville: A 12 story condo tower where the Enclave is on 21st and 440

16) The Mayfair: A 12 story residential tower in Belle Meade.

17) Plaza for the Arts: A 12 story tower near Cummins Station.

18) Marina City Tower: Thank God this is dead!

19) The American Center on 31st and West End: Originally Planned as a 24 story tower but a neighborhood group sued because the height would block out too much sun, thus now we have two 12 story towers.

The bottom line is I don't believe it until it's finished, or at least breaking ground. People always get excited at the prospect of something new and something grand. We learned today that the condo portion of the new MTA hub has now been cancelled. I still have very little doubt that WES Summit will ever break ground. The Intercontinental deal may have been inked, but Palmer may not be the one that builds their tower. Deals fall through all of the time.

Call me a cynic, but that is a bit safer than being the eternal optomist. We have been disappointed before. There is still no sign of a Federal Courthouse, and with elections in the fall, it may take a new elected government to continue the Federal Courthouse Program. Since the Senate is elected every 6 years, the new senate in November could do away with many capital improvement and construction plans, it could never happen at all, or maybe 6 years later in 2012.

It is very frustrating when developers tell us the big fish story of what they are going to do. Remember when Woody Weidenhoffer took over as Vanderbilt's head football coach? A winning season was going to finance closing in the north end zone increasing the size of the stadium. The opposite happened. They removed the bleacher seats and reduced the size of the stadium by 1000 seats.

I do enjoy the discussion on this site about what MAY happen. It is entertaining and thoughtful, but in reality it is fiction. It is a novel idea about what we want to see in our built environment. With Maryland Farms, Cool Springs, Metro Center, Plus Park, The airport area, Belle Meade, Brentwood Koger Center, Bellevue, Space Park South, Linbar Business Center, Grassmere office Park, and the City of Franklin the chance of ever having the CBD that we want is in reality nil. With 10,000 or more corporate and regional offices located away from downtown, the chance of projects like West End Summit simply may not have a future. The CBD still has a vacancy rate of 12% and Suntrust Plaza headed up by John Eakin never got the tennant to increase the building size to 16 stories. Now we have a 14 story building under construction that may not affect or effect the skyline as much as buildings like 2525 and the American Centers on West End. What does that tell you about downtown?

Yes, the Tennessean article on Sunday talked about taller towers. The article in reality talked about the FANTASY of taller towers. IF ,and it is a big IF, the convention center is built (I prefer the PCS metals site) we will see some 30 -50 hotel towers (300 to 400 feet.) The future of downtown is hotels and condo's, not office towers. If John Eakin can build another midrise in the CBD and not West End, I commend him; but how come a new cutting edge tower like Suntrust Plaza is not sold out already?

The challenge for Alex S. Palmer is not necessarily getting the money and the tennant he want's, but changing the culture of suburban sprawl. New York and Chicago can build office towers all day. We cannot. Alex has to fill 900,000 square feet! How can he do that when the Financial Center @ 30 stories and 490 feet is 12% vacant? Only time will tell.

Lets enjoy the model of Signature Tower in the window. I have seen many that were just that. Models, and they never became anything else.

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Lets enjoy the model of Signature Tower in the window. I have seen many that were just that. Models, and they never became anything else.

Thank you, thank you, thank you doorman.

I'm not just saying this because I'm not a skyscraper lover. I'm saying it because someone is finally thinking rationally.

I hope this sparks meaningful discussion of what we want, need, and must have in order for Nashville to prosper as opposed to rah, rah,....nevermind, I'm sure you can guess where I'm going.

thanks again

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I'm curious... how many of those projects were as far along as the ones proposed right now? Signature, and possibly WES, seem to be just on the verge of happening... did any make it that far?

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Friends,

As the Poet accurately notes, there is no need to get excited about an individual project unitl ground is broken and cranes rise.

Having lived here 38 of my 43 years, I recall all too well so many of the planned developments (some that would have been wonderful and others that would have been horrific) that never materialized. Too many times, I have been disappointed.

BUT, on a positive note, nowadays MANY more projects are coming to fruition than we saw in the past. There is a momentum and we must continue to build on it.

So let's be realistic but hopeful.

WW

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Facts is Facts, as much as i hate to admitt it, but DMP is right. Ive been here most of my life and if all the buildings that were proposed were actually built, we would be the size of Atlanta or Houston. However, we are a totally different city now and I think that at least half of all the proposed projects will be built.

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The only difference between then and now is that the buildings are breaking ground and they are being built. I dont think everything will be built, but there is a different environment in the DT area then there was 10 years ago. The proposals that are on the table now are more feasible than many that have been proposed in the past.

Your right doorman, I am so glad that stupid marina /jetsons building did not get built.

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The only difference between then and now is that the buildings are breaking ground and they are being built. I dont think everything will be built, but there is a different environment in the DT area then there was 10 years ago. The proposals that are on the table now are more feasible than many that have been proposed in the past.

Your right doorman, I am so glad that stupid marina /jetsons building did not get built.

I agree with you, Ron that the environment has changed and that many of these proposals will get built. I follwed Nashville development for more than 40 years, and there's never been abn emvironment like this in all those years. Despite that, some of these proposals will not take place, just as Doorman suggests. I get excited when proposals take on an air of seriousness. A serious proposal can be anything from Tony G. or Novare. They have a proven track record of getting things done. I feel very confident in WES getting built too. Still, there's a definite chance it could fall through, but I like the odds and it's an awesome looking building. There's a rumor of a 45 story- 700 Ft tall office build that's supposedly well along in development with 2 tenants already locked up. This is something to get "a little excited" about, but for now it's nothing more than a rumor. We'll just have to see if anything really does materialize.

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Thanks for posting this. It was both a useful reminder of a lot of history and a caution for some people on this forum who seem to take every developer (aka salesman) at his word. The reality of financing big projects is something that civic boosterism can't overcome. The City Center is a good example--that building is basically 100 percent leased and has been since it was opened in 1987, yet the second tower has not and probably never will be built. The economics just don't work. Economics are a major reason I am (very) skeptical about Signature Tower as well.

But reading your list, I find myself thankful that so many of those projects weren't built! Many were truly awful!

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The Doorman put together a very good list of 19 projects which never materialized (I'm still hoping for NCC 2, but I'm admittedly quite skeptical it will ever happen). Many of these projects were not highly touted and probably were more wishes than serious proposals. I think the Lebanon Complex bordered on being an April Fool's joke more than being a serious proposal. These "failures" span a period of about 20 years or so, and since I consider myself a postive thinking kind of guy, I thought I would put together a list of projects that became successes during the same time period, say 1985 up to now. Thanks to information I was able to retrieve from Emporis here's my list. I decided to list only project of 10 stories or more.

Building Name................................Stories..Height..Yr Completed

Bell South Bldg.................................33.......617.......1994

Financial Center................................30.......490.......1986

Viridian............................................33.......404.......U/C (2006)

Nashville City Center I......................27.......402.......1988

Renaissance Nashville Hotel...............35.......385.......1987

One Nashville Place...........................23.......359.......1985

Icon.................................................21.......?...........U/C (2007)

Palmer Plaza.....................................18.......269.......1993

Cumberland Apts...............................23.......236.......1999

Adelicia Condos.................................18.......?...........U/C (2007)

Centennial Tower..............................12.......212.......1990

Highland Ridge Tower........................12.......207.......2000

2525 West End..................................12.......201.......2000

Sun Trust Plaza.................................13.......200.......U/C (2007)

Davy Crockett Bldg...........................13.......?...........1987

Andrew Johnson Tower......................13.......?...........1993

Vanderbilt Biological Bldg...................11.......194.......2002

Bill Wilkerson Center - Vandy.............11.......174.......2003

Commerce Center.............................11.......173.......2000

Windlands South...............................11.......175.......1986

Nashville Marriott at Vandy................11.......?...........2001

Hilton Suites Downtown.....................12.......125.......2000

The West End Condos.......................11.......?...........U/C (2007)

Vanderbilt UMC Langford Hall.............11.......?...........U/C (2007)

Emporis does list completion dates for all buildings I'm sure you can add these buildings to the list as having been completed since 1985, and there could be several more:

Highland Park Tower........................14........?...........?

One American Center.......................12........?...........?

University Square Condos................12........?...........?

Finally there are two projects that are 100% certain of starting very soon:

Encore Condos...............................20.........?...........U/C very soon

The Terrazo...................................14.........?...........U/C very soon

When you realize just how many successes Nashville has had over that period of time, you realize that many of these proposal really do happen. I think the question is just how "serious" the proposal. Is it a "pie-in-the-sky" proposal? Probably less than 10% of those ever make it. Some do though. I'm sure most people thought that Tony Giarratana's proposal for building the Cumberland Apts was "pie-in-the-sky".

Or is it a proposal by someone with a track record of making many things happen. I would say that well over half of those proposals materialize. If it's a proposal by Vanderbilt University, it's pretty well a cinch it will happen. If it's by Novarre, Bristol or Crosland, Giarratana Development, you know it's a serious proposal. I suppose Alex Palmer would rate below that a bit, but he has a track record of producing and WES is a serious proposal. Still WES is by no means a cinch but it's getting close to being done. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that an very good percentage of all the proposals out there come to fruition. I think the current environment for developing in Nashville has never been better, and that's why I'm confident that we will see many of these proposal happen.

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I've questioned Palmer's project from the day he announced several years ago. He still has hurdles as I've mentioned in other threads and written at NashvillePost. Tony is either going to be a complete failure with Signature Tower or a huge success. If he doesn't get the sales he needs, then that sucker isn't going to get built and he'll have egg on his face and could set him back a few years in terms of convincing people he isn't a BS artist. For years, a lot of people thought he was all talk and no go. He proved them wrong with Cumberland then Viridian. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his success streak live with Sig and Encore.

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I've questioned Palmer's project from the day he announced several years ago. He still has hurdles as I've mentioned in other threads and written at NashvillePost. Tony is either going to be a complete failure with Signature Tower or a huge success. If he doesn't get the sales he needs, then that sucker isn't going to get built and he'll have egg on his face and could set him back a few years in terms of convincing people he isn't a BS artist. For years, a lot of people thought he was all talk and no go. He proved them wrong with Cumberland then Viridian. It will be interesting to see if he can keep his success streak live with Sig and Encore.

With people about to move into the sold-out Viridian and Encore on track, I'd guess Tony is feeling pretty confident right now. Under a lot of pressure too, tho.

Do you remember the very very first WES? It was two slabbed out rectangle buildings. I recall white sides and huge sheets of green glass. It was already outdated and ugly.

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Doorman, I don't suppose you have the dates for the projects at the top of this thread, do you? Something occurs to me that I'd like to test... :ph34r:

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I hear ya, DP. But let me tell you that the proposals that never saw the light of day in Atlanta could fill a book. I spent quite a bit of my early career in Dallas, and I remember a feature in a Sunday paper that described all the no-starts there. You can imagine how many that city saw as the oil/real estate bust came on suddenly.

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William and I have had this discussion many times before, and although I have mentioned various projects in other threads about proposed projects that never happened in the past, for benifit to the newcomers to the site, maybe some review is in order.

With so much announced and yet to break ground, let us all remember the past a little to see what may have been:

DMP, you left out a "biggie." The proposed (in 1994) 60-story HCA/Columbia Headquarters for the lot where the Signature is going now. My estimates ranged that it would've been between 850-1,000+ feet in height.

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4) 128 7th Avenue North: A 45 story office tower that would have replaced the James Robertson Apartments.

Was this the one meant to replace JRA or the Genesco (?) Building just across the street ? That was demolished in the mid/late '70s, IIRC ? I know there was a high-rise planned for that and still remains a forlorn parking lot some 30 years later. Does anyone have a decent old snapshot or postcard of the old Genesco, it has been one of the most elusive and least photographed of downtown's early 20th century "high rises."

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