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Nashville Bits and Pieces


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2 minutes ago, CandyAisles said:

The AT&T Building (Batman) was most certainly designed by Earl Swensson Associates. Earl may not have done all the heavy lifting with the design but his company 1000% did. Some of his other notable projects of old are News Channel 5, Wessex Tower, the old Gideon’s International, and the Imperial House. For whatever reason the Wikipedia page for that building is super active and can confirm zero changes have been made by ESa to ever correct any of the information.

I didn’t realize Wessex Tower was designed by ESa. Wessex is a fantastic building. 

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23 hours ago, Baronakim said:

Well, Wiki is DEAD WRONG.  I started work at ESa at the time the building was under design and there were several models of the tower spires being made in what we called the "WarRoom".  These were quite large.  I really don't consider the exterior design just "interiors".  To claim otherwise is horse pucky ( I mean something more pungent but folks with fragile ears censor it).

 

 

Thanks for sharing. I love the building, so any inside stories about its design is pretty amazing. I’d love to see those models. Heck I’d love to see the architectural model of the building. Any idea if it’s still around? 

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1 hour ago, dragonfly said:

Try driving to the mountains in half a day from Dallas like you can in Nashville. Try buying a hilltop home in Dallas with a view of the city or lush landscape. More than a day's drive to the Davis Mountains or Guadalupes from Dallas and when you get there, no waterfalls unless you happen to hit after a rare rain. Your best trip to a waterfall from Dallas is maybe Hamilton Pool or Krause springs outside of Austin. Tons of waterfalls with attendant great hiking within 2 hours of Nashville. Can't think of anywhere in half a days drive of Dallas I would care to hike. Oh and lest we forget, I  think you have a choice of maybe a couple of hundred recording studios in Nashville. Maybe someone can verify a more accurate number. At least you have the Gulf coast 5 hours from Dallas.

Speaking of natural scenery, Nashville is definite up there, but I was referring to city amenities. Nashville isn't quite up there compared to Houston, Atlanta, or Dallas. 

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7 hours ago, MagicPotato said:

Speaking of natural scenery, Nashville is definite up there, but I was referring to city amenities. Nashville isn't quite up there compared to Houston, Atlanta, or Dallas. 

Just curious what do you miss from those cities that Nashville doesn't have?

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On 1/24/2022 at 10:46 AM, MagicPotato said:

Can we talk about home prices? It's really getting out of hand. A townhome is going for around 300k. The sheer amount of homes needed to cover the demand is nonexistent.  At least for the suburban areas, homes are going for around 300k-350k, that's if you can out bid the competition. I know there is demand to live in the Nashville area, but this is getting out of hand. I'm debating on moving to Atlanta or back to Dallas. Nashville doesn't even have nearly the same amount of amenities in comparison to Atlanta or Dallas.

The inventory size of Atlanta and Dallas is still abundant. Even with the home prices going up around the country, it's still nothing compared to Nashville.  For example, a 2500sqft home in suburban Atlanta is about 300k, while the equivalent price in Nashville is about 500-600k. For about 300k, you'll be lucky to get 1250sqft. Another thing that I notice that most of the new homes being built are either townhomes or med-large size homes.  Nashville really needs to do something this is getting out of hand. 

I'm spending more time in the Alpharetta area on business and think it would be a great place to live.  With the post-pandemic, WFH, Great Resignation going on, there have to be pockets of Atlanta and Dallas that are quite appealing to some of the people who might otherwise choose Nashville/Austin/Denver but feel priced out of the market.

Edited by Mr_Bond
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5 hours ago, PaulChinetti said:

Just curious what do you miss from those cities that Nashville doesn't have?

I guess any amenities that a city of 6-7 mil population offers compared to a city of 2 mil at the cost of cheaper housing.  It can range from restaurant options, shopping options, diversity, job opportunities,  housing options, etc.  Granted, traffic still sucks within Dallas/Atlanta/Houston , but at least the infrastructure is some what still on par with their population metrics in comparison to Nashville. 

Edited by MagicPotato
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4 hours ago, colemangaines said:

Fully agree with you there. Personally I would be open to something similar in Davidson County to California's SB9 that allows duplexes on almost every lot currently zoned as single family.

My unpopular opinion on the topic: Since single family housing is becoming more and more unattainable, it should be viewed as a privilege instead of a right. Larger cities shouldn't be obligated to provide single-family zoned neighborhoods, and they should be viewed as a luxury option instead of the expectation.

The RS zoning is the only zoning policy that would not allow one or two family units on a parcel. This could be part of the cause for the Tall-Skinny epidemic that proliferated the neighborhoods of the city and resulted in legislation towards them. 

In reality, what is really requiring cities to provide SFH zoning? Minneapolis has completely outlawed SFH zoning. It is more the cry from the public that would cause the uproar of eliminating SFH zoning. It is a matter of changing the mindset of folks as to what the "American Dream" is. The other side of the coin is eliminating SFH zoning is quite tricky within established neighborhoods that are completely SFH. If the city wants to upzone those parcels, then there would need to be a contextual portion of that upzone that would not scale out the existing homes – the WeHo/Chestnut Hill Overlay is a good example of working to upzone while giving some comfort to established residents. 

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38 minutes ago, Bos2Nash said:

It is more the cry from the public that would cause the uproar of eliminating SFH zoning. It is a matter of changing the mindset of folks as to what the "American Dream" is.

I think you hit the nail on the head - it seems like a lot of people feel like their way of life is under attack with more prevalent multi-family housing. And it's hard to blame them when it's done so poorly in so many cities (Orlando, FL pictured below, they've never heard of missing middle housing). I think Nashville's generally doing a good job of upzoning, I guess I'm worried about continued explosive growth eating up all the affordability this upzoning will generate.

image.thumb.png.b0ddc970a5f3daa44bb75056dc6b42c7.png

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One of the biggest issues right now is the heavy expense to build anything new. It is almost impossible to build something new and have it be truly affordable. That being said, any new construction (especially in rentals) should make existing options slightly less desirable which will provide downward pressure on prices over time. 
 

I like the idea of opening up any single family zoned lot to accessory dwellings and excluding a portion of the increased value from property taxes. That includes any R-zoned or RS zoned lot, and I would also get rid of the requirement that the primary house be owner occupied. Doing all of that creates a fantastic incentive to add a small 1-2 bedroom apartment that could be rented out, and it does so while still keeping the neighborhood’s feel intact. 

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22 hours ago, colemangaines said:

Fully agree with you there. Personally I would be open to something similar in Davidson County to California's SB9 that allows duplexes on almost every lot currently zoned as single family.

My unpopular opinion on the topic: Since single family housing is becoming more and more unattainable, it should be viewed as a privilege instead of a right. Larger cities shouldn't be obligated to provide single-family zoned neighborhoods, and they should be viewed as a luxury option instead of the expectation.

Homeownership/single family housing should be a privilege for who exactly? Homeownership/single family housing should be a luxury for who exactly?

 

Edited by Licec
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55 minutes ago, Hey_Hey said:

I like the idea of opening up any single family zoned lot to accessory dwellings and excluding a portion of the increased value from property taxes. That includes any R-zoned or RS zoned lot, and I would also get rid of the requirement that the primary house be owner occupied. Doing all of that creates a fantastic incentive to add a small 1-2 bedroom apartment that could be rented out, and it does so while still keeping the neighborhood’s feel intact. 

I understand the sentiment, but I'm not sure a lot of folks would agree that filling a neighborhood with 1-2 bedroom rentals would keep the neighborhoods feel intact. You had have additional cars to park, traffic and the perhaps the unfair perception that renters simply don't invest as much in neighborhoods where they may only live for a year. I think you could just send a lot of folks, who want to live in more traditional neighborhoods back to the surrounding counties.

There are already 100s, maybe a few thousand - 1-2 bedroom living units in most all of Nashville's urban neighborhoods that are currently used only as STRs-hotel rooms. I'd start with cutting way back on any new and phasing out many of the existing ones.  Admittedly an unpopular and dead end idea though. 

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9 hours ago, GregH said:

Something I think about a lot is how many more housing options our city could provide with mostly the same amount of buildings if zoning was more flexible. I live in the Nations which has transformed into a neighborhood of tall skinnies over the past year, but would it have been so bad if instead of splitting a lot into 2 2000+ sq ft SFHs, there was instead an option to do 4 1000 sq ft condos?

I'm sure you're well aware of everything I'm about to say since you live here, but just to add to the conversation --

The special developments like Treaty Oaks have been the only ones in the Nations to really fill that niche, which I agree is really important. But while Treaty Oaks cottages once sold for $250-$350k (so like $200/sq ft) when they were built circa 2016-2017 I think, which was a great starter home price, they're now selling for closer to $450-$500k (just shy of $300/sq ft) which is starting to be out of reach for many - salaries haven't risen by anywhere that much in the last 6 years. Newer takes on this include Edison Park with their "stacked flats," but a 1200 sq ft unit just sold for $372k (over $300/sq ft), so you're not getting very much bang for your buck. Similar story for the Silo House condos. So these smaller-sized units are definitely still getting built, and in decent quantities, but like everything else, they've become quite expensive.

As you mentioned, the base zoning does limit the density for most of the residential area, but the nearly square street grid in the Nations is another thing that's standing in the way of natural density even if everything were still single family homes. In many cities, the alleys are where the next street would be, and the lots would then be much more naturally shaped for houses in the 1000-1500 sq ft range as they could then face both ways. The unnecessarily deep lots for an urban neighborhood are a cause of the tall skinny issue, forcing one dimension of the split lot to be a lot longer than it needs to be. A lot near my house recently was divided the other way (i.e. horizontally with one sub-lot facing the alley and the other facing the street), didn't realize that was legal but there seems to be a house whose sole entry is from the alley (other instances of this still had a long walkway to get to the street). Kinda weird but I guess if you really hate solicitors and junk mail, it'll work? Not sure how they're gonna get their mail, or how the other house without alley access will have its trash collected.

But the overall density is still going way higher with all the apartment, condo, and townhome blocks going up. I think what's being built is actually reasonably balanced, and it's nice that the "corner shop" low-intensity commercial zones still exist scattered throughout (though there's obviously some friction between the older, perhaps seedier convenience stores and the overpriced new hipster shops). Now that larger developments are forcing crosswalks across Centennial and constructing new sidewalks, the walkable aspect of the neighborhood is getting more practical/safe. I think fourplexes would be fine here and there, but the "small yard with a dog and young kid" feel in a neighborhood where most amenities are in walking distance is a pretty unique thing.

As for mailboxes, I've seen some streets convert to one big central mailbox, which I wouldn't be opposed to. It's really weird to have the streets lined with parallel-parked cars like it's a rowhouse neighborhood, but then have no sidewalks for a mailperson on foot to use (which is how I remember mail being delivered when I lived in Somerville, MA). I'd really hate to be the mailperson for this neighborhood. I specifically selected the street I live on since it is wider and almost all the houses have garages, so there's rarely cars parked on the street itself unless they're visitors.

Edited by AsianintheNations
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On 1/26/2022 at 1:12 AM, MagicPotato said:

Speaking of natural scenery, Nashville is definite up there, but I was referring to city amenities. Nashville isn't quite up there compared to Houston, Atlanta, or Dallas. 

Well yes, I understand, since we have 2 TX metros each with 2 airports and I live in one of them. With spectacular air service to the world, especially at DFW. But having moved here from Austin in '89, I'm still plagued with literal dreams of finding, after all these years, a hill of some kind here. Of which there were plenty in Austin. It's kind of like a game running out of somewhere trying to convince/trick me in my sleep that it finally happened.  But there is no escaping this: urban amenities are hugely enhanced by opportunities for outdoor recreation especially like the ones in Nashville within the metro area too which are better than what we have in Houston IMO. Although the extensive hike and bike network here is growing and becoming a world class feature enhanced quite a bit by the topography ironically. 

 

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On 1/24/2022 at 10:46 AM, MagicPotato said:

Can we talk about home prices? It's really getting out of hand. A townhome is going for around 300k. The sheer amount of homes needed to cover the demand is nonexistent.  At least for the suburban areas, homes are going for around 300k-350k, that's if you can out bid the competition. I know there is demand to live in the Nashville area, but this is getting out of hand. I'm debating on moving to Atlanta or back to Dallas. Nashville doesn't even have nearly the same amount of amenities in comparison to Atlanta or Dallas.

The inventory size of Atlanta and Dallas is still abundant. Even with the home prices going up around the country, it's still nothing compared to Nashville.  For example, a 2500sqft home in suburban Atlanta is about 300k, while the equivalent price in Nashville is about 500-600k. For about 300k, you'll be lucky to get 1250sqft. Another thing that I notice that most of the new homes being built are either townhomes or med-large size homes.  Nashville really needs to do something this is getting out of hand. 

My sister and brother in law are trying to buy right now. They have a budget of around $450k, which should be more than enough for a starter home in Nashville. But they can't find a place to buy...every bid they out in is over asking price, and they still are getting outbid every time. They're looking as far out as Pegram, too... there's just not much out there that's in their budget that lasts more than a couple of days. Houses are being sold to individuals and investors sight unseen. They're finding that even in Dickson houses that 10 years ago would have gone for $200k-$250k are going for twice that. Even as far west as Humphreys and Perry counties places are seeing spikes in prices and less availability! My fear is the Nashville is going to turn into another DC, where you have people commuting 60+ miles just because they couldn't afford anything closer.

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5 hours ago, Nathan_in_DC said:

My sister and brother in law are trying to buy right now. They have a budget of around $450k, which should be more than enough for a starter home in Nashville. But they can't find a place to buy...every bid they out in is over asking price, and they still are getting outbid every time. They're looking as far out as Pegram, too... there's just not much out there that's in their budget that lasts more than a couple of days. Houses are being sold to individuals and investors sight unseen. They're finding that even in Dickson houses that 10 years ago would have gone for $200k-$250k are going for twice that. Even as far west as Humphreys and Perry counties places are seeing spikes in prices and less availability! My fear is the Nashville is going to turn into another DC, where you have people commuting 60+ miles just because they couldn't afford anything closer.

$450K would have been a decent amount even just 2 years ago. The house my wife and I bought in Williamson County at the beginning of 2020 was under $500K. It is now worth over $700K. I just don't understand how people still argue that Nashville is affordable. (Unless you are comparing to San Fran/NYC) Why is Atlanta so much cheaper? Wouldn't construction costs be the same, and aren't they growing as a similar pace? 

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I'm not a real estate expert, but isn't part of the problem in finding homes to purchase the fact that like 19 out of 20 multi unit/multi story developments are being built as apartments/rentals and not ownable condos. And lots of existing condos or possible condo developments have gone STR (especially downtown).  Are there ways to incentivize condo construction over apartments? 

Edited by Nash_12South
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16 hours ago, AsianintheNations said:

As for mailboxes, I've seen some streets convert to one big central mailbox, which I wouldn't be opposed to. It's really weird to have the streets lined with parallel-parked cars like it's a rowhouse neighborhood, but then have no sidewalks for a mailperson on foot to use (which is how I remember mail being delivered when I lived in Somerville, MA). I'd really hate to be the mailperson for this neighborhood. I specifically selected the street I live on since it is wider and almost all the houses have garages, so there's rarely cars parked on the street itself unless they're visitors.

Yeah I think the neighborhood is plenty dense to support foot-delivered mail (which USPS does in the Belmont/Hillsboro area, for example) but I suspect they won't do it in places with such spotty sidewalk coverage. One issue I think with the mailboxes is that most of the new builds put the mailbox directly in front of each house's front doors, so if you need to allow 5 clear ft on either side of the box, that's 20 ft of road space unavailable to parking. If instead the builders had put the two boxes right next to each other, they'd be slightly off-center from the houses but it would only block (almost) half as much potential parking space.

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