Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
MTSUBlueraider86

Nashville Getting Taller Soon?

18 posts in this topic

WW and I were discussing this over coffee. As Nashville reduces the amount of surface lots in the core, and there are still lots of them, when do we start going tall? WW predicts a 700-850 foot tower in the next five years. I am not at all that optimistic as Nashville always thinks small. Nashville goes out of it's way to dream big, but always and always end up doing the smallest as possible.

Our pier cities build bigger, they have more urban residential and otherwise actually do more daring things. Charlotte is a city that came from nothing and exploded in the 1990s with tall gleaming skyscrapers that exemplify modern architecture and a city on the move. Mobile, AL is an example of a city with 198,000 people with a 750 foot skyscraper dwarfing the Bellsouth Tower. Oklahoma City has completed or near completing an 850 foot Devon Energy Tower.

Bigger is not always better, but Nashville is way behind pier cites in residential, riverfront development, skyscraper development, elimination of surface parking lots, attracting national corporations and overall urban development. Currently Austin and Charlotte have, as they used to say, "cleaned our clocks' in the past few years.

When is Nashville going to stop dreaming big and actually start doing something big?

The MCC not withstanding, but in many other cities the Omni Hotel would have been 40-60 stories, not just 21.

Thoughts?

MT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I too would like to see more tall (and daring) buildings downtown and more corporate relocations, etc. But is this really a function of Nashville dreaming big but not building big? Is it more a function of developers not building big? I mean, it's not Nashville that will ultimately build the big buildings - but developers and those relocating companies..

Of course, I guess convincing big companies to relocate is a function of Nashville - but the actual building of their headquarters? I don't know.. I suppose the city could encourage, but not necessarily dictate. If a company wants to build a non-tall building (like the Suntrust building) that's nice and will create in-fill and additional tax revenue for the city, can the city really put their foot down and say "no, you must build tall". If they did that, then what?

I don't have the answers, that's for sure... just wondering what the city can do to build the tall buildings we like so much..

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the City can offer Tax Increment Financing to developers.

I believe it's just a matter of time until a beautiful, tall building, is developed.

While I was hoping for Lightrail or streetcars, I am really praying for BRT to be developed soon. I believe the BRT will have a great impact on our city, and catalyze a lot more development around the BRT line. That development, I believe, will lead to a more livable and lively city, which would only be a plus for a developer considering building "tall".

Edited by nashvylle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This goes back to the deleted thread "Are Developers Too Cautious." I think the city can encourage more responsible development. The Suntrust Plaza is a perfect example of a building that should have been 20+ stories tall and not 13. Instead of reducing our carbon footprint, they increased it by building a squatty building on a massive lot rather than building a 30 story tower on a smaller footprint.

It is a shame that so many of the cities prime lots are under developed, or not even considered for development and the only developer that thinks big is Tony Giarratana. Nashville seems to avoid passing the 33 story floor count at all costs. Even if Tony builds 505 CST at 38 stories, that is till a big disappointment. What happened to 70?

When I sit on the community deck and look at the skyline from my 5th and Main vantage point, I see a skyline where I can take a ruler and draw almost a perfect straight line across the top! There is little or no height variation and we are way behind pier cities in urban land use management, especially in the core.

We should not have a single building built under 30 stories anywhere in the core anymore, and the Hyatt Place is another example of poor planning and bad land use management. That lot should have been saved for a much taller building to better use the land available, so now we have to build the 11 story Hilton to make up the difference rather than one 30 story hotel to cover both.

The HIlton, Omni, and Hyatt could have all fit in the initial 40 story hotel Marriott proposed and the city squandered that idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No massive spec skyscrapers will be built here, at least in this economic climate. Are developers too cautious, I don't think so at all. Yes we all want more height but that requires more $ and banks are only going to lend what they deem fitting because that's what got us in this whole mess to begin with, speculation. I personally do not want all 30+ floors only in the core for new construction, variety is key and different types, heights, and sizes, are better.

I'd rather Nashville rock it out with street level interaction and have a decent skyline than the other way around. A skyline looks pretty and all but I prefer style as well as functionality. There also isn't a massive need for new office space right now but for residential, yeah I'd say developers are being too cautious but those dominos will fall soon.

Also, yeah, big whoop at the 40-floor Marriott, but personally the design wasn't that great. I mean neither is the Omni but at least it isn't a 500-600ft wall with pock mark windows. The hotels all serve their specific market and the Omni is full-service and obviously others are limited-service, oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think, more than anything, Nashville needs to encourage business owners and developers to adopt designs that address the street and pedestrians. Building higher is entirely secondary to this. There are a number of downtowns that have tall buildings that do nothing to encourage commerce or pedestrian/mass transit commuting in their vicinity, which in the long run is a very bad thing.

Having more buildings that utilize their storefronts to cater to pedestrians, or at least buildings that don't punish them by making them dodge bad drivers in a massive parking lot, should be the number one concern for Nashville at this juncture. The tall buildings will eventually come once we have a truly viable CBD and land values that justify concentrating as much floor space as possible on the smallest available lot. Skyscrapers are by no means an "if you build it, they will come" venture. They will develop when they're worth developing. Until then, we need to do all we can to make the CBD and other areas of town viable places to live that do not require taking a car to do every single errand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think, more than anything, Nashville needs to encourage business owners and developers to adopt designs that address the street and pedestrians. Building higher is entirely secondary to this. There are a number of downtowns that have tall buildings that do nothing to encourage commerce or pedestrian/mass transit commuting in their vicinity, which in the long run is a very bad thing.

Having more buildings that utilize their storefronts to cater to pedestrians, or at least buildings that don't punish them by making them dodge bad drivers in a massive parking lot, should be the number one concern for Nashville at this juncture. The tall buildings will eventually come once we have a truly viable CBD and land values that justify concentrating as much floor space as possible on the smallest available lot. Skyscrapers are by no means an "if you build it, they will come" venture. They will develop when they're worth developing. Until then, we need to do all we can to make the CBD and other areas of town viable places to live that do not require taking a car to do every single errand.

But then, are they too cautious in building apartments? I mean, I know there are several projects still in the works, but given the incredible speed with which new buildings fill, at outrageous rents, as soon as they open, I would think more projects would be greenlighted. A 445 sq ft unit in Velocity rents for $1,245! You could literally buy a house ten times that size for that price. Vista Germantown was just completed and seems to be pretty much full, Eleven North's website says they've already rented 2/3rds of the units and it's only half finished.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But then, are they too cautious in building apartments? I mean, I know there are several projects still in the works, but given the incredible speed with which new buildings fill, at outrageous rents, as soon as they open, I would think more projects would be greenlighted. A 445 sq ft unit in Velocity rents for $1,245! You could literally buy a house ten times that size for that price. Vista Germantown was just completed and seems to be pretty much full, Eleven North's website says they've already rented 2/3rds of the units and it's only half finished.

Considering the hits developers have taken in the last few years, and the royal screwups some of them made, I can't fault them for cautiously developing these buildings out of fear that it is just another bubble. The number of available units within walking or cycling distance of downtown is steadily rising though, and that's a good thing.

I'm also looking forward to the time when there are more "old" apartments downtown for rent that have lower rents for less-nice apartments. You can't have a viable or interesting area if it's just composed of trust-funders and college students still living on their parents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


My intent that seems to be missed is to have a viable skyline that shows a city on the move with expressive daring architecture. Yes, we want street activation, we want buildings up to the street, we want pedestrian friendly streets, we want the elimination of sidewalks, we want a vibrant city, however; we cannot waste space by building too many low rise and midrise buildings without realizing the space will be filled, and more land will be used to build another building.

With today's LEED building standards, buildings are more energy efficient. With space at a premium, I do not understand all the resistance to skyscrapers. I realize this is Urbanplanet and not Skyscraper page or Skyscraper City, but the animosity towards skyscrapers seems to puzzle me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not resistant to skyscrapers but other than apparent demand for apartments, what else is there really going on driving downtown upward, seriously? The "can't waste space" argument is pretty lame, to me it is. I would love to see more tall buildings but it's all about cost and reasoning and I think a lot right now is cost-prohibitive. I'm personally very happy the massive Marriott was canned because it looked like a gigantic wall when viewed from north or south with windows spread about it. Now is it were to have been an all-glass structure like the J.W. Marriott in Indy or the one about to break ground in Austin, big thumbs up, ours would've been stupid looking.

SoBro will likely be a healthy mix of low, mid, and high rise buildings, but give it time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My intent that seems to be missed is to have a viable skyline that shows a city on the move with expressive daring architecture. Yes, we want street activation, we want buildings up to the street, we want pedestrian friendly streets, we want the elimination of sidewalks, we want a vibrant city, however; we cannot waste space by building too many low rise and midrise buildings without realizing the space will be filled, and more land will be used to build another building.

With today's LEED building standards, buildings are more energy efficient. With space at a premium, I do not understand all the resistance to skyscrapers. I realize this is Urbanplanet and not Skyscraper page or Skyscraper City, but the animosity towards skyscrapers seems to puzzle me.

I don't think it's an animosity towards skyscrapers. I think it's just a desire for a reasonable mix of buildings. Nashville has enough land right now and enough room to grow around the existing CBD that there isn't a huge need for excessively tall skyscrapers, and it won't have that real need for a long time. Now, I understand planning for the future and all, but it's unrealistic to expect these buildings to just appear without demand. Demand will come in time when it makes monetary sense to build upwards.

That being said, Nashville does need a few trendsetter buildings that will set the stage for higher construction. it would be nice for the skyline to have a few buildings taller than Batman, but if we go to fast we will have stagnation. I'm in favor of steady growth, with a mix of high, low and midrise buildings where appropriate that will still stand out on street and horizon equally, not a spurt of five or six massive towers that will potentially kill development for 10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a rendering of the proposed marriott convention center hotel? Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Music_City_Center_hotel_2.jpgI think this is what you are looking for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WW and I were discussing this over coffee. As Nashville reduces the amount of surface lots in the core, and there are still lots of them, when do we start going tall? WW predicts a 700-850 foot tower in the next five years. I am not at all that optimistic as Nashville always thinks small. Nashville goes out of it's way to dream big, but always and always end up doing the smallest as possible.

I don't think Nashville "thinks" small. You yourself say we dream big...that in itself is not thinking small. I think sometimes what we desire (what we think or dream about) does not always translate into what is practical or feasible. We can dream about 700+ foot skyscrapers all day long, but if there are not tenants that wish to fill the space (or can afford to fill the space), then developers and their financial backers simply aren't going to risk building them.

And I don't think that translates into doing the "smallest" possible thing. Sometimes things are scaled back -- but that doesn't mean it's the smallest possible thing. In one way of looking at it, it might be the biggest possible thing the developer felt they could achieve. It's not always what we want, I'll give you that. But if there were a market for 700+ foot skyscrapers at any point in time in Nashville, I would imagine we would have one. Some of that is also probably due to what types of companies are based here. A lot of our older skyscrapers were built to house banking or insurance companies. Many of those companies have been bought or have consolidated (American General took the suburban office park style route, of course) -- so now they house regional bank offices. With Nashville's proximity to Atlanta, and to a lesser extent, Charlotte, I doubt you will see a regional or national bank come in and build a new tallest (not to mention the scrutiny that banks are facing over how they spend money these days).

Our pier cities build bigger, they have more urban residential and otherwise actually do more daring things. Charlotte is a city that came from nothing and exploded in the 1990s with tall gleaming skyscrapers that exemplify modern architecture and a city on the move. Mobile, AL is an example of a city with 198,000 people with a 750 foot skyscraper dwarfing the Bellsouth Tower. Oklahoma City has completed or near completing an 850 foot Devon Energy Tower.

Bigger is not always better, but Nashville is way behind pier cites in residential, riverfront development, skyscraper development, elimination of surface parking lots, attracting national corporations and overall urban development. Currently Austin and Charlotte have, as they used to say, "cleaned our clocks' in the past few years.

Charlotte had the benefit of two national banks that helped bankroll a lot of that development. Of course I'm a bit envious of several of their taller buildings. But aside from tall buildings, there's really nothing else about Charlotte I find overly appealing. Maybe it's just me...but I don't think they have much else on us other than that.

In the case of Mobile and Oklahoma City, we have, hands down, a better skyline than both of those places, even despite their towering new skyscrapers. One skyscraper does not make a city. Personally, I think both of those look horribly out of place...much like Signature would've looked out of place here, rising more than twice as high as our other skyscrapers (Batman isn't half as tall, but it would appear as so since it's at a lower elevation, and two narrow spires make up a good amount of that 617'). A 750 footer wouldn't look out of place. A 1,000+ footer would.

This goes back to the deleted thread "Are Developers Too Cautious." I think the city can encourage more responsible development. The Suntrust Plaza is a perfect example of a building that should have been 20+ stories tall and not 13. Instead of reducing our carbon footprint, they increased it by building a squatty building on a massive lot rather than building a 30 story tower on a smaller footprint.

I think Suntrust is a nice looking building...but yes, I would've liked for it to be 20+. Even so, it looks tall (and stands out) for its height. I completely disagree about the carbon footprint comment, though, as many of our newer shorter buildings are LEED certified. There's a big difference between Suntrust and building a low, sprawling 4-5 story spec office building with a huge surface lot around it.

It is a shame that so many of the cities prime lots are under developed, or not even considered for development and the only developer that thinks big is Tony Giarratana. Nashville seems to avoid passing the 33 story floor count at all costs. Even if Tony builds 505 CST at 38 stories, that is till a big disappointment. What happened to 70?

When I sit on the community deck and look at the skyline from my 5th and Main vantage point, I see a skyline where I can take a ruler and draw almost a perfect straight line across the top! There is little or no height variation and we are way behind pier cities in urban land use management, especially in the core.

I think the prime lots being underdeveloped isn't totally a bad thing. It will allow us prime land to develop as we grow and transform into a larger city. Rather than have to build out elsewhere, we have space downtown. And we don't HAVE to tear down more buildings to make space (I'm sure we'll still see some -- but that's for the historic preservation thread -- a completely different discussion).

I brought this up at the last forum meet -- we have a large concrete footprint that is most certainly under-utilized...spanning from SoBro, The Gulch, Midtown, West End, and Sulphur Dell. There are a lot of potential sites to develop. We have the ability to completely transform our center city. We might not *like* it right now, but it gives us a lot of hope for the future. A mostly unfinished canvas lies before us.

We should not have a single building built under 30 stories anywhere in the core anymore, and the Hyatt Place is another example of poor planning and bad land use management. That lot should have been saved for a much taller building to better use the land available, so now we have to build the 11 story Hilton to make up the difference rather than one 30 story hotel to cover both.

The HIlton, Omni, and Hyatt could have all fit in the initial 40 story hotel Marriott proposed and the city squandered that idea.

If we did not build a single building under 30 stories anywhere in the core, we would be restricting ourselves to the point of barely having anything built since the Batman building (Pinnacle and Viridian would be the only ones that qualify). If we were to restrict ourselves in such a way, we would only be hurting ourselves, and the places that would continue to benefit would be the neighborhoods away from the core, and the suburbs. Why would we do that?

And I'm not sure I'm totally in agreement with consolidating developments into a few tall buildings, rather than giving us the infill that boosts our street activity. I would agree it was squandering area if we didn't already have an abundance of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


There's a give and take in regards to taller buildings. Assuming that the demand for office space, apartment/condo space, and other uses in the urban core is a constant, then square footage demands are constant as well. Let's assume there's demand for 1,000,000 sq feet of additional space. We can either have that in one building at 1000 ft, or we could have that in two buildings of 500 ft. In regards to the skyline, there's no doubt that the single 1000 footer would be more dramatic, however in terms of street activity and urbanity maybe two 500 footers or four 250 footers would be more dramatic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thinking more along the lines of limited space. Considering it costs about $10,000,000 a floor now to develop a tower, it may be more cost effective to build two or three smaller buildings, but eventually we run out of space and then we start tearing down smaller buildings to make room for more new ones. Nashville has done way to much of that over the past 40 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thinking more along the lines of limited space. Considering it costs about $10,000,000 a floor now to develop a tower, it may be more cost effective to build two or three smaller buildings, but eventually we run out of space and then we start tearing down smaller buildings to make room for more new ones. Nashville has done way to much of that over the past 40 years.

I see lots of potential space. Surface parking lots, warehouses, abandoned buildings (with no aesthetic value)...there are plenty of spots for Nashville to build up without hurting anything important. We aren't NYC, or even Chicago. It wouldn't really make sense to restrict buildings to such a height minimum like 30 stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.