Scroll down to see the 2011 Nashville Downtown Partnership’s research and trend analysis for residential and retail use in downtown Nashville. Many will be surprised by the fact that downtown only offers a total of 3,823 residential units, both rental and ownership. This is an incredibly small number considering the fact that Nashville maintains a 1.6 million MSA population. To put this number into perspective, the 2010 average attendance for a Nashville Sounds minor league baseball game was 5,000. Dissenters will tell you it’s because there’s nothing to do in downtown, that only tourist go downtown at night. They’ll say things like: “you can’t really walk to the grocery store” and “what are you supposed to do if you don’t go to bars?” Let’s put some perspective on these common assertions.
Ten years ago, the above assertions were true. I’ll also concede that downtown development is truly in its infancy. Most don’t realize that downtown residential development was forbidden by metro building codes from 1963 until 1993. Developers who would have otherwise built in downtown were forced to matriculate to the suburbs. It was not until then-Mayor Phil Bredeson created an incentivized urban redevelopment zone around the CBD that residential and retail development began in earnest. If it were not for the so called “Bredeson Box”, residential development in the urban core may still be non-existent. But Mayor Bredeson did kick start development and since 2000, public-private investments in new downtown development have exceeded $2.8 billion. There are 2 downtown grocery stores, 2 dry cleaners, 2 pharmacies, 5 museums, 4 dentists, 9 bakeries, 20 art galleries…and more retailers moving downtown every week. It’s hard to maintain an aversion to downtown Nashville when so much growth is taking place.
Downtown Nashville Residential and Retail Presentation
Note: The absolute numbers in this presentation are a moving target and subject to change. New residents and retailers are moving downtown every day. Big thank you to Tamara Dickson for the use of the Partnership’s presentation!