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Rural King

What does the future hold for the "Athens of the South"

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The Nashville/Davidson County Metro area is changing rapidly. The urban core of Nashville city proper in the last 6 years has seem tremendous progress, and the city in almost unrecognizable from the urban landscape of 30, or even 20 years ago. The sky seems to be the limit and the city seems primed for an era of urban development, and redevelopment, on a scale that may be unprecedented. So the question is, where is the city heading? What will the urban landscape of the Nashville of 10, 15, or 25 years from now look like? Is the city following trends set by other larger cities? Is it mimicking anything being done by its peers? Or is setting its own unique course for the development and integration of its urban (and suburban) landscapes that will set it apart from both?

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Well the next big area of development will obviously be in sobro area. The gultch will eventually connect with the sobro/CBD in its development so really, there will eventually be a massive urban core there maybe pushing all the way to the interstate someday on the south loop. The east bank might see some highrise buildings pop up but I would immagine they will be residental.

Midtown and the west end area are going to be developing at their own pace. I do think WES is going to be built (digging that hole would be an awfully big bluff if he didnt have a serious reason to believe that it would built). The majority of the development will be along west end ave. I'm speculating.

The suburbs are going to continue to outpace the urban core though. Murfresboro and franklin will be something to see.

Nashville won't be EXACTALLY like any other city but IMO, it will resemble Dallas.

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The Nashville/Davidson County Metro area is changing rapidly. The urban core of Nashville city proper in the last 6 years has seem tremendous progress, and the city in almost unrecognizable from the urban landscape of 30, or even 20 years ago. The sky seems to be the limit and the city seems primed for an era of urban development, and redevelopment, on a scale that may be unprecedented. So the question is, where is the city heading? What will the urban landscape of the Nashville of 10, 15, or 25 years from now look like? Is the city following trends set by other larger cities? Is it mimicking anything being done by its peers? Or is setting its own unique course for the development and integration of its urban (and suburban) landscapes that will set it apart from both?

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While not as close to it as you guys, I have some ideas. After all, I have learned some lessons from living in Atlanta most of my life. With that, I believe the next five to ten years will be critical for Nashville if it (collectively speaking) wants to break from the pack of middle markets. What will breaking from the pack mean exactly? I really don't know, but suffice it to say, breaking from the pack would distinguish it in many positive ways from other middle and larger markets.

The critical elements are thus:

1. Smart, progressive leadership: I don't meant that in a liberal political way, but in a way that looks at big opportunities and is not scared to take what will be good, sound bets on Nashville's future and makes the cases for them in articulate ways. Some examples are the convention center; sweeping land use planning that instructs (as opposed to dictates) in the use of efficient and attractive development including the riverfront and elimination of unsightly utility poles in so-called focal areas; recognizing other opportunities to make the urban core more attractive to suburbanites and newcomers alike, etc.. Obviously, Nashville's leaders need to recognize opportunities to act with business for a more livable urban core (stem the tide of businesses leaving for Wilco, etc.). I believe Atlanta was unfortunate in a sense as its first postwar waves came at a time when there was a lot of migration from the urban core.

2. Schools, schools, and schools. Did I say schools?: This is such a tell-tale reflection of the local government's ability to govern. Trust me as a resident of a one-time "iffy" public school zone, and one who still shudders at the proliferation of suboptimal political shenanigans in my school district. Of course, we are not unique in that respect. Public school systems are notorious for wasting precious resources by veering far from their sole mission: to educate children, above all else in the most important disciplines to achieve in the future. Obviously, the payoff will be companies that want to be located there.

3. Embrace biotechnology, medical and plant R&D, including animal nutrition and related industries: This should be a huge push for a unified chamber from all surrounding cities. There should be enterprise incubators (especially downtown) with major input from Vandy, the various governments, as well as the healthcare industry in Nashville. One spinoff of this would surely be nanotechnology and the use of it to create future fuels and foods for the world. Of course, this would need much better congressional representation in DC than you currently have (Jim Cooper who?). You guys can't even get a courthouse. Just for a sidebar comparison, John Lewis has been quite effective with both parties in charge. Trust me when I say that there are several pockets of the country that are already focusing on these industries and the payoff will be huge!

4. Obviously you have to get ahead of your future transportation needs. Others on this board are much better at enumerating those options. Once again, leadership will be a critical factor in seeing this get done ahead of the massive influx, if that is to be the case.

5. You should dance with the one you brung, tourism... specifically, the music industry: It's exactly why anybody would choose to spend his/her leisure time and money in Nashville. Do it right! What do I mean? Well, don't pin yourselves down in one particular genre of music; don't sell your souls to ditch your country roots, but broaden the offerings to all comers. Have you seen what the Rock and Roll HoF did for Cleveland's downtown? What about the proposal that somebody on this board made a few months back for an all inclusive music hall of fame? Do you guys call yourselves Music City, or Country Music City?

Lest anyone challenge my words on this point, please understand that I love Nashville precisely because it has not sold out its soul just to look/be like any other city on the rise in the USA with its generic suburbs and a downtown that looks like an office park. Nashville may still go that way, but that's why I specify these critical elements. I still believe that with leadership, it won't.

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Nashville in the near future.

I am really excited about the new convention center. I think this will keep Nashville on the radar screen and map. Hopefully, the city can get this thing going without any further delays. The new CC should help the city through the slow economy period and give us city enthusiasts something to watch as it is being constructed. Also in the same hand, the CC construction will hopefully fuel some projects in limbo (i.e. WES, Sig, Eakin Towers, etc) and promote new projects such a CC hotel. With the new projects, I would like to see some definite height (500 ft +, well more like a definite 700-800 ft range) to give Nashville's skyline a boost in character. I look to Charlotte, NC as a good example of some nice big projects currently under construction and an example of a nice tall tower (BOA I believe) amongst the skyline.

Secondly, the city needs to get the Riverfront project going. Not to sure how I like the island idea, but at least get the first phase underway to give people something to do near the river. I think they had some good ideas, and this would give Nashville another boost in character. Just get the ball rolling. Doesn't have to be anything big. Just small stuff here and there to begin the process. Kinda like a fire. You start with small twigs and kindling then build with larger pieces. Okay, anyway, as I digress. I would definitely like to see the fountain, the floating walkways, the urban forest, and the trails and parks.

Next on my wishlist/prediction is the thermal property on the riverfront. I wish the city or whoever would revisit the baseball stadium with the additional mixed use plan for this site. This Sounds plus the Predators would help keep people DT almost all year round. However, I would like to see the stadium be MLB approved just in case we had the chance to snag a relocating team or expansion. I recently visited Memphis and enjoyed seeing their baseball and basketball stadiums DT.

I like the "smaller" projects such as Rolling Mill Hill and see others to continue to pop up around town. I really enjoy seeing the projects that reuse older and existing buildings. Once again, I come back to character. I think projects like these give Nashville certain unique character. Hopefully, with the vacancies of the older buildings and warehouses and with an influx of people moving DT, a movement for more retail projects reusing the buildings will come alive to keep those living DT, living there, and give them something to do while at the same time drawing people DT not living in DT. The area within the interstate loop should be a strong core if all this happens.

Okay, this is all I have for now but still want to discuss some more issues such as transportation, schools, etc. I'll be back ^_^ .

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Nashville in the near future.

Next on my wishlist/prediction is the thermal property on the riverfront. I wish the city or whoever would revisit the baseball stadium with the additional mixed use plan for this site. This Sounds plus the Predators would help keep people DT almost all year round. However, I would like to see the stadium be MLB approved just in case we had the chance to snag a relocating team or expansion. I recently visited Memphis and enjoyed seeing their baseball and basketball stadiums DT.

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^I am a believer also. However, I think the NL could work here as well. I am a Cubs fan, and there are numerous NL central division fans (Cards, Reds, Brewers) in the area. Also, the Braves are close, and there are many fans of Atlanta as well. I do agree that the Yanks and Bosox would be a huge draw if we had an AL team. Either works for me! I forgot that the thermal plant land is restricted by size. As long as something get built here, looks good, and is functional, I really don't mind what goes here. However, I think a baseball stadium would be a perfect fit here. Also, wherever (if ever) a new stadium gets built, I believe the developers should seriously consider being MLB ready, just in case. I have heard that a possible development at the fairgrounds could include the stadium, but I am not sure how I feel about it. I feel strongly about the stadium being closer to DT, but at the same time I would like to see the city pursue a new stadium to keep the Sounds. Who knows, maybe the fairground redevelopment could work out as well.

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The Nashville/Davidson County Metro area is changing rapidly. The urban core of Nashville city proper in the last 6 years has seem tremendous progress, and the city in almost unrecognizable from the urban landscape of 30, or even 20 years ago.

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I pretty much agree with most of the assessments above. I do think Atlbrain hit the nail on the head with strong leadership and schools in Nashville. Right now I feel pretty good about Dean as a mayor and think he is on track to accomplishing more in his first year than Purcell did in 8 years.

With the recent departure or Pedro Garcia, Nashville is in a good position to find an exceptionally qualified person and back this person up with what they need to accomplish the job. Sometimes throwing money at the school problem is not the answer. It takes an exceptional leader and I hope Nashville finds this person soon. I think one of the first steps was suggested earlier this week with appointing the school board instead of electing them. You can have qualified people on the board then instead of a bunch of folks who think they know what to do.

Mass transportation is going to have to be a key growth goal of a regional transportation system. We will have to change the way people think about using their cars over the next 20 years. I think rising gas prices will help do this.

Regional co-operation between all the Metro area governments is going to be key to controlled, smart and sustainable growth over the next 20 to 25 years.

I think the migration into the city core will continue for at least another 20 years. These things go in cycles as do retail developments. With all the new lifestyle centers, it reminds me of small downtown areas of smaller cities when I was a kid. Malls are going to be history sooner rather than later. Oh, there will be some exceptions to the rule, but not one new traditional shopping malls were started last year.

I do think Nashville will eventually be a hub for a major airline in the next 20 years. There is a long range plan to build a 2nd terminal at BNA, but this will not happen until we have a hub carrier here.

I think Nashville will be a much Greener city over the next 20 to 25 years with more bike lanes, green-ways, green roofs, adn a very ambitious recycling program. I do think there is a para-dime shift that is occurring nation wide but we will have to do a lot more education of the common man to make things happen.

Nashville is still the Athens of the South as it is still built on and around 7 hills much as Athens but is still very much a center of learning with all of the colleges and universities that are in the Nashville area. This will continue to make Nashville a very desirable place to be. Higher education is one factor that is making Nashville a cosmopolitan and international city.

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I was going to start another thread for a year in review and predictions for 2009. I think there are a few old threads that I will link about yearly predictions. I think it would be cool to start a tradition and see how close or far off we were at predictions and wishes.

I'll start off with a few headlines this year.

- The economy, market crash, credit crunch, bailouts, etc. is definitely the biggest news this year and how this plays out over the next year. Everyone is affected some how by these problems. Hopefully, everyone will learn from this to save and spend wisely. Developers have all slowed down. Some have put projects on hold, stopped developing completely, or gone under from lawsuits, etc. Huge and luxurious developments will be few and far between now a days. Hopefully, Nashville will continue to hold strong and lead with smart development.

- It looks like WES is pretty much not going to happen at least anytime soon (haha I can't believe I am still hanging on, I love the design). Several of us thought that this project would go vertical this year. It seems that AP is in some legal trouble. Stinks that there is a huge hole there now for nothing, plus the destruction of a "historic" building for nothing as well. Who knows what will happen here in the future I guess we will have to wait and see.

- Another huge project for Nashville, the Signature Tower, has gone under a complete re-design. Like WES several thought this would break ground in 2008. This project has come full circle. Tony has realized that condos were on the decline and needed to go back to the hotel, office, and reduced number of condos design. He says it will be a little shorter so hopefully for us height enthusiast we will see something tall go there. It may be awhile however before we see or hear anything due the state of the economy. I am guessing the new design comes out this year. This might be feasible if he can get an office tenant. I think the CC will help projects like this during the slow down of the economy.

- The Pinnacle or "Crown" Tower is well under way in SoBro. This office tower looks to add some definite character to our skyline and downtown area. It is not going to blow you away with its height, but its design is beautiful. Around 435' and 29 stories this baby is on floor 28 and a month or so from topping out in early 2009. Watching the progress on this tower from the construction cam has been fun. Can't wait to see this one completed and lit up in SoBro. I think this and the Encore have provided a catalyst to the SoBro area. Can't wait to see the what next year will bring to this area.

- The Encore condo tower in SoBro was completed and opened this year. A combined effort from Tony G. and Novare this 20 story tower was the first to break the height limit in the SoBro area (someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong on any information, I am just using my memory and the boards as sources :) ). Sells seem to be good even with the economy. It's not going to blow you away architecturally, but it does add some character to the area and skyline. Plus it adds some residents and retail which should push the core area in the right direction. With the close proximity to the Pinnacle which also has some retail it will be interesting to see the development of this neighborhood.

- The Westin or whatever brand hotel that was planned for the controversial SoBro area seems to be at a standstill. I haven't heard much on this project in awhile. This one also underwent a re-design where they changed the outside design and removed the condos originally to be built on top of the hotel. It would be a nice addition to have a Westin downtown especially with the convention center in the works.

- Many more projects to come! I will wait to add more later. Please feel free to contribute!!

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A few wishes/predictions for 2009 that come to my mind..

* We will see at least 1 BRT line (Gallatin Pk), and hopefully another (West End) getting very close to reality.

* Griffin Plaza will begin construction, for real this time

* At least 1 of the "Two Towers" / Laurel will break ground

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I want to see convention center and convention center hotel break ground.

In a wild dream, Signature Tower break down.

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- Rolling Mill Hill is a project I am very excited about right now. They have made some good progress so far in 2008. This will be a neat little area of town especially once something is done with the old trolly barns. I could see some great retail going there. This project adds more residence to the downtown area and contributes to the cool neighborhood coming together with the Encore and Pinnacle towers. I am guessing this project will finish up in 2009. I forgot to mention that I think it is brilliant that they are using the older buildings from the old hospital (not sure if this is correct). I love projects that use old existing buildings like this and Werthan Mills. I wish more could be done like this. It gives off a very unique feeling. I can't explain it.

- The Gulch has come a long way in 2008. The Icon, a behemoth, was completed and opened up most units in 2008. I guess some work is still going on here on some last units and retail. Even though sales are slow maybe lower pricing or renting will help fill up this building. Several retailers have already been announced in the Icon and Terrazzo and a few in the area. The Terrazzo seems to be on its last leg of construction. Situated next to the Icon these two make quite an impression from the interstate. Also, well underway is the massive Velocity complex behind the Icon and Terrazzo right next to the railroad tracks. The Velocity has gone up pretty quickly since it has been mostly wood construction and is only a few stories tall. The Icon and Terrazzo do not have staggering height at 22 and 14 stories respectively. However, they are both around the same height despite the floor differences, if I recall correctly. As I mentioned before, these two towers are only a block or so next to the interstate which adds several floors to the height since the interstate lies in a dugout. This gives a towering impression when traveling along the interstate near the 65 split south of town. This is just the start of the Gulch neighborhood with the Griffin Plaza and the proposed Eakin two towers in waiting. This neighborhood is going to provide great connectivity with the west side of town and SoBro. Especially when the CC gets underway. The only gripe I have about all the condos going up is I wish there were more affordable options for us poor people :). Hopefully, in the next trend we will see more options for a variety of people to help keep the urban areas diverse.

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