Thursday, September 27, 2012

Climb Nashville hosting a meeting to discuss new gym

Climb Nashville does in fact have plans to construct a new climbing gym on Charlotte Avenue, on the vacant lot near 37th Avenue (yes!!). They are hosting a meeting this Sunday at 2pm at their current facility in Sylvan Heights (3630 Redmon St) to discuss their plans.

They are currently seeking a zoning variance that will allow them to build an urban focused building that will pulled up to the sidewalk.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Boyle executive says announcement on North Gulch project coming soon

Nashvile Post editor Geert De Lombaerde and reporter J.R. Lind recently sat down with Wood Caldwell of Southeast Venture, Ashlyn Hines Meneguzzi of Bristol Development, Thomas McDaniel of Boyle Investment and Michael Rankin of Crain Construction to discuss Nashville's recent surge in commercial real estate. As you may or may not know, Boyle is the developer on the much anticipated North Gulch project (centered on Charlotte & 11th Avenues). Some excerpts from their discussion:

DE LOMBAERDE: Michael, do you see any other emerging markets?

RANKIN: One that’s coming back that may not be on everyone’s radar is the Crossings, that Southeast corridor around Hickory Hollow and Cane Ridge. There’s good opportunity, there’s space, infrastructure. I think in the next decade, you’ll see some great growth there. HCA just made a big investment out there with their data center.

HINES: What will naturally happen with housing — apartments in particular — is that, when you can’t do sites in the Gulch, then you move down to 11 North. Then you have 1700 Midtown [near Baptist Hospital]. So that opens up Charlotte Avenue.

DE LOMBAERDE: Right. HINES: You’ve got Germantown, too, so it kind of opens up little areas that you’d never think. All it takes is one person
to do something of any size in an area like that and it starts to turn the whole area. DE

LOMBAERDE: It’s a real domino effect.
HINES: I mean, who would have ever thought the backside of Division would get developed? Look what is happening there and how that segues into Eighth and 12th.

MCDANIEL: You know, the 11 North project you mentioned was a big surprise to me. DE

LOMBAERDE: How does that influence what you want to do with the land you’ve assembled on the other side of Charlotte?

MCDANIEL: We’re trying to figure out what to do with this North Gulch land. It’s a great assemblage and has great proximity to everything, but it was not the first thing on everybody’s development radar. Then these guys come in with this significant apartment development right there that has garnered some of the top rents in the city...

HINES: That’s a classic example of somebody from out of town in my opinion looking at Nashville with a blank slate. They can come in and look at that and say wait a minute this is a good site and they hit a home run. It’s a great project.

RANKIN: You know I have sort of a weird affection for Charlotte and 11 North sort of opened up Charlotte here. I think we all kind of perceive Charlotte in a certain way and I think it has a lot of character. I think it’s sort of —

HINES: Very quirky.

LIND: I think Charlotte just got branded as a way to get from Bellevue to downtown and that’s all it was.

RANKIN: Yeah. Could we go that way? Is Charlotte the next big corridor?

CALDWELL: We’ve got the 28th Avenue Connector. That sat on Purcell’s desk for eight years and all a sudden...

HINES: When that opens, everything from that connector into the North Gulch and Germantown will become prime development opportunities.

CALDWELL: Yeah, it’ll all come together. That’s another big prime opportunity. DE

LOMBAERDE: Thomas, what’s your all’s time frame for the North Gulch project? Is it a matter of finding the right
tenants or do you look at other benchmarks along the way?

MCDANIEL: We have completed the assemblage. We finally got the last piece that we didn’t own. We’re demolishing everything now to have a clean slate and we have had surprisingly high interest from users of all types. It’s a little different site. It’s not a pure office site in the middle of The Gulch. It’s not the first apartment or condo or hotel site you think of, but we have seen some great interest. It’s a large land assemblage right where it is and I think we’re going to have an announcement soon on a good part of that and hopefully more to follow. We’ll see.

DE LOMBAERDE: Do you want it to be mixed-use?

MCDANIEL: It will be mixed use to some degree and we have an idea of we want for it. But at the same time, the users may push us in one direction or the other.


MCDANIEL: I was going to mention Charlotte, honestly. I think the whole corridor is going much more westward than the site we’re talking.

DE LOMBAERDE: That’s a good point about Charlotte. You think the connector is a good way from downtown, but it really isn’t.

MCDANIEL: No, it isn’t.

CALDWELL: It’s 10 or 12 blocks. You know it’s a short strip that can really get built up.

MCDANIEL: And HCA is already developing that corner in conjunction with Metro.

CALDWELL: Yeah, because that’s the only downside with a lot of other areas that we’ve mentioned. With the 12 Souths and your Eighth Souths of the world, there’s only a narrow strip of commercially zoned property. So for there to be any magnitude of commercial critical mass, you need something that’s bigger. There are large land sites on Charlotte that are hard to find on any other accessible arterial with that proximity to town.

28th/31st Connector Grand Opening October 2 - 11:00am

From the Mayor's office - grand opening next Tuesday, October 2 with a ceremony and inaugural crossing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

28th/31st Connector to open Oct 2

It's been 16 months since the groundbreaking ceremony took place on the long awaited strip of asphalt that will finally connect 28th Avenue and 31st Avenue. And next Tuesday, you'll finally get a chance to drive (or bike or walk) over that bridge.

Public Works plans to have a grand opening ceremony on October 2. Details will be posted here as soon as they're announced.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Climb Nashville on Charlotte?

More great news for Charlotte Avenue!

The vacant lot that sits across from 37th Avenue could be the new home for Climb Nashville who currently resides on Redmon Drive in Sylvan Heights.

There is a zoning variance sign on the lot regarding building setback. Word is that Climb Nashville will be constructing a new climbing facility on the lot.  Climb Nashville also has plans to expand to East Nashville.

Details to come soon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

HG Hill making streetscape improvements at White Bridge/Charlotte

Nashville real estate giant, HG Hill owns the property on the northeast corner of White Bridge Road and Charlotte Avenue. The property currently houses a TitleMax and the other building (formerly NTB Tires) is currently being renovated for a Family Dollar (meh...). I believe that the TitleMax lease expires this year, just as NTB's did.

While I'm not jumping up and down about a Family Dollar going in, I am however pleased to see that HG Hill is investing in greening up the streetscape at that corner. Attached is a site plan of what HG Hill plans to do to spruce up the prominent corner of West Nashville.

According to the contact at HG Hill, there are still no current plans for HG Hill's other Charlotte property near 40th Avenue.

UPDATE: I was correct in saying that TitleMax's lease did expire this year, but I have been informed that the just signed on for another five years at this location.

Friday, September 14, 2012

NUVO Burrito hopes to open on Charlotte mid-October

The rumor that started a few weeks ago on this blog, turned out to be true. (A special thanks to the anonymous tip, whoever you are.) Nuvo confirmed on their Facebook page today that they are in fact opening a new location in the abandoned Krystal building at the corner of 53rd and Charlotte across from Bobbies.

They also plan to open another restaurant in the Peabody Markerplace downtown. Nuvo's original location on the east side will remain open. Nuvo is known for their unique spin on the burrito, stuffing them with ingredients you don't typically find in the kitchen of tex-mex restaurant.

Nuvo also has a slew of creative cocktails for the thirsty grown ups out there as well as an ever changing beer list that is sure to please even the most discerning beer nerd.

An article in The Tennessean today states that Nuvo hopes to open it's west side location by mid-October.

Welcome to Charlotte Avenue!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NUVO Burrito vehicle spied at Krystal property

A poster on the Nashville Urban Planet forum snapped this shot yesterday of a NUVO Burrito branded SUV that was sitting in the parking lot of the former Krystal property across from Bobbie's. Another sign that the rumors may in fact be true.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What BRT on Charlotte could look like...

I'm no transportation planner, but I designed this based on MTA's current East-West Connector. Charlotte BRT would start at Davidson Road where a fairly large Park & Ride could be sited (plenty of land for sale here and easy access to I-40) and continue along Charlotte going through West Nashville neighborhoods, passing through the medical district and then approaching the North Gulch before making a loop in the downtown core, going north around the Capitol and then swinging south on 4th Avenue, then Demonbreun, then 8th. The line would then pick back up on Charlotte before you cross the Cumberland where the route would remain unchanged. Adding the downtown core loop allows for access to businesses, entertainment, and of course the convention center without cutting down Broadway and disrupting pedestrians and the honky tonk scene.

Here is MTA's proposed East-West Connector

Here is what a BRT system could look like on Charlotte Ave:

Monday, September 10, 2012

BRT construction impact & ridership

Here's a couple of more arguments for Charlotte BRT that I feel hold water...

Imagine you're driving towards downtown on West End around 7:45am on a weekday and the BRT project just broke ground a few months's the commute?  Little sluggish?  Well maybe you'll just pull into McDonalds here and grab a biscuit...wait, can you get over there? Argggghhhh!

Now imagine that you're driving downtown on Charlotte around 7:45am on a weekday and the BRT project just broke ground on Charlotte a few months ago....oh wait, you don't drive down Charlotte to get downtown?

Let's face it - the impact on traffic and businesses will be far greater on West End than on Charlotte. Charlotte has fewer traffic signals (between White Bridge & 13th Ave), fewer vehicles traveling on it, and fewer established businesses that people frequent.

And let's talk about ridership...

Here's a list of west side neighborhoods a West End BRT would directly service:

• Cherokee Park
• Whitland
• Whitworth
• Richland/West End
• Hillsboro/West End
• Vanderbilt

A list of west and north side neighborhoods a Charlotte BRT would directly service:

• West Meade (northern portion)
• Hillwood
• Croleywood
• Beacon Square
• Charlotte Park
• White Bridge
• Urbandale/Nations
• Sylvan Park
• Sylvan Heights
• College Heights/Clifton
• Hadley/Washington
• Watkins Park
• Hope Gardens

Which route do you think would produce the most ridership?

I don't know if we have a chance of changing the plan - I doubt MTA is going to listen to some blogger. But if you think this is a solid argument, then let them know about. Spread the word and help this idea build some momentum - get Nashville talking about BRT on Charlotte Avenue!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Making a case for BRT along Charlotte

Over the past few months, I've been following the news regarding what should be the crowning achievement of Mayor Dean's second term: BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). While I would've preferred to see a trolley line or light rail, after reading more and more about the proposed BRT project, I've grown to like it mostly for it's resemblance to light rail but with a much smaller price tag.  

The BRT project, dubbed the East-West Connector, will run along Nashville's "main street", primarily West End/Broadway. Starting on the west side near the White Bridge Rd. intersection the dedicated BRT lane will stretch 7.5 miles along West End/Broadway/Main St and terminate at 5 Points in East Nashville. This major artery is comprised of 25,000 residents and 120,000 jobs - it was the goal of MTA to choose a route that "would be embraced by the residents along the proposed line and those who work in businesses as well". Another goal was to "connect the core of the city without having to continue to rely on automobile travel". MTA sought a system that would "connect residents and visitors alike to East Nashville, LP Field, Vanderbilt University and Medical Center and the other medical centers nearby".

There is no doubt that the proposed route accomplishes those goals. If you had to pick a main street in Nashville, West End/Broadway is obviously the clear choice. But one other positive influence that BRT brings to a city is increased economic development along the corridor. In a recent study of various BRT project across the US, the GAO (Gov't Accountability Office) found that "although many factors contribute to economic development, most local officials we visited believe that BRT projects are contributing to localized economic development."

The article also cited that "while most local officials believe that rail transit has a greater economic development potential than BRT, they agreed that certain factors can enhance BRT’s ability to contribute to economic development, including physical BRT features that relay a sense of permanence to developers; key employment and activity centers located along the corridor; and local policies and incentives that encourage transit-oriented development."

Sounds like a win win doesn't it? Not only does the city get a fancy new form of mass transit, but the corridor it serves benefits from added economic development. Now let me ask another question. If you had a to pick a major corridor in Nashville that needed some help in the economic development department, which would you choose? I'm willing to bet Charlotte Avenue would get that vote more often than not. Which leads me into my argument for developing the BRT route along Charlotte Avenue rather than West End.

Let's start with the basics:

Charlotte Avenue for the most part, runs parallel to the proposed route and still touches most of the major institutions within the proposed corridor footprint (Charlotte and West End are separated by less than two miles at the widest point, with a majority of their separation distance being less than a mile).

• Charlotte BRT would be closer to campuses in North Nashville (TSU, Fisk)
• Charlotte BRT would be closer to the medical district (including Metro General)
• Charlotte BRT would avoid going through pedestrian choked Lower Broad, but still close enough to walk to/from
• Charlotte BRT would retain the same route as the current proposal once you cross the Cumberland
• Charlotte BRT would have potential Park & Ride sites that are closer to I-40 (on the west)
• Charlotte BRT would still go through the main bus terminal, Music City Central (it’s ON Charlotte!)
• Charlotte BRT would still marry up with Woodland St./Main across the river
• Charlotte BRT would go past the Legislative Plaza and state office buildings
• Charlotte BRT would go past the new Public Health Center (Lentz being constructed at 26th Ave)
• Charlotte BRT would go past Nashville West and adjoining retail (West End lacks a retail destination this size)
• Charlotte Avenue is full of vacant properties - you could practically have a plethora of choices of where to put your Park & Ride sites, as opposed to cramming them into already congested areas along West End (White Bridge & Elmington Park).
• You could potentially go FURTHER WEST along Charlotte and capture more ridership among residents in Hillwood and Bellevue. West End route will stop at White Bridge - do you honestly see Belle Meade letting a BRT line come through?
• BRT along Charlotte would also better serve the communities it bisects. The population that lives along the Charlotte corridor would be much more open to using mass transit than the demographic that lives in the West End corridor (read middle class vs. affluent). I wasn't able to find any statistics, but I'm willing to bet that the ridership on the current Charlotte MTA route is much higher than that of routes along West End.

So my question is why not Charlotte Avenue?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Nashville Ledger does story on Charlotte Avenue's revitalization

Nothing new to report, but some good press for Charlotte Avenue.