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MTSUBlueraider86

Federal Courhouse Update

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I spoke with Jim Cooper today while at our neighborhoods one year flood recovery picnic. He told me we were still on the list of cities to get a new Federal Courthouse. We may have to wait a few more years. He did say one of the debates was to keep the Berger Building or not. As of now for security reasons the Berger Building will come down.

They do not want would be Al-Queda terrorists to be housed up in the building next to a regional federal courthouse. Obviously, Al-Queda is not shopping for buildings in Nashville, but the building is so non descriptive that one would not know who occupied the building if left standing.

There had been plans to incorporate the Berger Building in the Federal Courthouse design, because the Berger Building was considered significant by architecture standards. Not any more. Josh Smith no longer owns the building. It is mostly vacant and will be coming down for the courthouse.

50 feet of frontage is required for a setback from the street for all new federal buildings.

BR

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I have not checked GSA.gov recently, but until the 2012 budget is finalized and we either re-elect Obama or elect a new president, I don't expect anything in the next 3-5 years unfortunately.

BR

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Yes, the Berger Building is saved.

BTW, this site shows a 2012 schedule for construction. I don't know what that schedule is worth, however. Apparently design on the project is moving ahead. $142 million dollars has been budgeted.

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I think that is an old rendering. The most recent renderings are more encouraging.

FedCourthouse.jpg

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I'm not crazy about the large setback, but I understand that's simply the nature of things right now, and we're probably lucky that they are still building federal buildings in town, rather than in an office park-like campus setting.

I still find the design to be sort of vanilla. It's not really even stately. Hopefully the real thing will turn out better than I imagine.

I wish that the architect would give a nod to Nashville's architectual past and incorporate more of a Greek Revival design....

but I suppose beggars can't be choosers.

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The way things are going, I am willing to put this in the files with the Signature tower. It will never get built with the political climit in DC and the foot dragging and the partisan bickering. They might as well sell the lot and start over somewhere else. The land they want to put it on is far to valuable for a POC like this. OMG, I am starting to sound like John :shok: No offense Bro.

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Whatever goes on this lot needs to reflect the quality of the buildings around it - the library, Bennie Dillon, the doctor's building, etc. I'd rather see something like Terrazzo or Adelicia built on this site, with street-level retail all the way around.

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I actually like the new rendering, but Ron is right! With the political climate now, both sides are doing their best to destroy the country. The Democrats and Republicans have no vision. Spending money on anything now will get the Tea Party against you, and you will lose votes. So while the rest of the world forges on, we will neglect our infrastructure and civic buildings like this in favor of guys like Jerry Jones building self serving edifices to himself like the new Cowboy Stadium. Although half of it was on his dime, the other half was paid by taxpayers. Where is the outrage form Conservatives on that one?

This could be a grand civic building and renderings rarely do justice to the finished project. This project may be the most important project in Nashville because it will open up 7th, 8th, and 9th Avenues again. It will put people on the street and support local businesses. It may even add more residential to the mix, but Nashville is now hot for SOBRO so unfortunately I agree with Ron. This needs to be filed with Signature Tower and West End Summit as projects that will never happen.

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MTSU, I respectuflly disagree... An increase in the federal budget by 280% and to the national debt by 57% over the past three years is hardly not spending money! Weren't we told that the first two "stimuli" were for shovel ready projects? Where was Jim Cooper then?

Actually, what we are seeing now is the start of the proverbial death-spiral that governments that overspend inevitably find themselves in. To wit: Increasing amounts of the budget each year are forced to go to servicing the debt (and unfortunately in the case of the USA in recent years) we have borrowed even more... so the amount of interest we pay is skyrocketing beyond our means to pay it off. Then comes the proverbial day of reckoning when you face the question; where do you (the government in this case) choose to allocate the diminishing dollars that are actually coming in from taxes that don't go to interest? We have already seen this happen in the drastic cuts to the defense budget.

The fact that tends to get lost in all the discussions about taxes is that tax revenues have actually continued to grow... but spending has far outstripped revenues. It's quite simply mismanagement of funds, and no one does that "better" than governments. The Nashville courthouse is a great case in point. The federal government owns several parcels, one of which is adjacent to the existing building where the federal courts are housed. Why not use that land? Why not rehab and/or expand the existing building which I understand will continue in use? Instead, the Church/7th property has been held in "limbo" now for over five years. Also, I might add that as one of the specific constitutional responsibilities of Congress, building courthouses has taken a backseat to so much other pork and other budget busting "rabbit hole" quests by the DOJ. Now, there have been courthouses built however, it's just that Nashville's clout with Jim Cooper is very low in the House... and Alexander and Corker are in the minority in the Senate. http://nashvillepost.com/news/2009/2/17/new_federal_courthouse_disappears_from_stimulus_package

Several areas with more clout have "jumped over" Nashville for new courthouses... and/or expansions. Atlanta is one city that has received more ($200m) in "upgrades" from the last FY, than Nashville's courthouse was originally budgeted for to build and land acquisition. Other cities jumping over Nashville for federal buildings include Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Buffalo, Portland, and Las Vegas.

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This project was actually announced in 2001! 11 years later we still have this surface lot and abandoned buildings. The Feds need to sell the land if they are not going to build on it. I agree on spending limits versus taxes, but that is not really a discussion to have here. The point being, the area businesses including hotels need a revenue driven project to be built there to increase their business. Hotels were counting on 2000 people being in that building everyday. In fact, the Renaissance Hotel renovated it's restaurant and added the Starbuck's for the foot traffic from the courthouse. The last time this was supposed to start was 2008-2009 and the Renaissance Hotel was counting on it. The F&B Manager Chris Brown told me he was counting on it. Mark Giovetti the Rooms Director once told me they were waiting for the retail that was supposed to locate in the existing buildings fronting Commerce Street, and that never happened. The Sushi place even moved because they were told the courthouse was happening then too. This whole thing has been a disaster. DINO Jim Cooper has put off this project so he would not be known as a spender. That is it. That is why this has not been built in the past 11 years. It has nothing to do with the Federal Budget. When Senator Bill Frist was the Majority Leader, a name plate for his family was supposed to adorn the building as well.

I love the design, but a nice apartment block would do well here. Good mixed use is what we need.

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I tend to agree that the federal courthouse sort of diminishes the potential of that prominent site. I'm not crazy about setbacks downtown, unless there is a park involved.

But I also don't think a large scale skyscraper would suit that site well. It's a big site.

I do like the idea of mixed use. Church Street has become sort of a small hub for residential activity downtown. I would like to see that continue. And since Tony's Signature site has been reproposed as an office/hotel component, I think it would be beneficial to find another place on Church to add in some residential.

This is a big block...and similar to the size of the Library (and former Church St Ctr) lot. I don't think it would happen, but it would be interesting if they proposed something like Church St Ctr now. But instead of just a big building internal mall...something that would have more of an outward presence, engaging street traffic. One or two anchor tenants, and some small boutique type stores, and some restaurants. Mix in a mid/high rise 15-20 story residential tower on the corner of 7th and Church, incorporate the Berger building by surrounding it with a similar facade for the whole 8th and Commerce area....oh, and build a connecting 4 star hotel to this development on the north side of Church, between 8th and Polk (old library parking)! Yeah....that sounds nice.

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as a new owner in the bennie dillon, i'm pretty anxious to see something rise up on this lot. something with retail on the street level would be great, and even BETTER if crema coffee could be convinced to move there! lol

eric b

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