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WASHINGTON (September 7, 2021) – Equitable development should be at the heart of plans to rebuild Nashville’s Second Avenue following the devastating 2020 Christmas Day bombing, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI is a global, member-driven organization comprising more than 45,000 real estate and urban development professionals dedicated to advancing the Institute’s mission of shaping the future of the built environment for transformative impact in communities worldwide.
The report is based on recommendations from a panel of land use experts convened in March through ULI’s Virtual Advisory Services Panel (vASP) offering, and it included extensive background research as well as interviews with over 75 stakeholders and civic leaders. The vASP is a 3.5 day, virtual program that is tailored to meet a sponsor’s needs. For a virtual panel, ULI members are briefed by the sponsor, engage with stakeholders through in-depth interviews, deliberate on their recommendations, and make a public presentation of those recommendations followed by a written report.
The panel recognized that the power of Nashville’s recent economic success presents both a crisis and an opportunity as it recovers from the damage caused by last year’s explosion. In 2021, ULI and PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report named Nashville as one of the top three investment markets in the country, including the third-hottest housing market.
The panel called for an action plan to establish a vision and to guide recovery and reinvestment. Immediate efforts should be focused on specific buildings in order to have the biggest impact. While a phased strategy is needed for infrastructure projects, private sector properties need nimble responses to guide decisions toward future use and design. Equitable development will be essential to ensure that economic growth from better transportation, services, parks, and higher quality, affordable housing and transportation, benefits everyone’.
The report recommends that Nashville:
The panel has outlined an implementation plan including immediate steps to be taken, but it envisions that between four and seven years will be needed to fully realize the successful conception of the new Market Street District. A rough estimate of the cost is between $58 million and $82 million although this depends on several variables outlined in the report.
“While rocking the soul of our city and destroying the physical structures of our history and commerce, the Christmas day bombing also opened an important and collaborative way forward for our city and our community,” said Kim Hawkins, founding principal, Hawkins Partners Inc., and ULI Nashville Governance Chair. “Through partnerships, investment and hard-work, Nashville can once again come together in tragedy to rise above towards something better. The ULI ASP brought bold and visionary ideas with realistic steps based in business and the market, design and construction, history and the future and, perhaps most of all, our citizens and guests. This process will ensure we move out of this destruction even stronger.”
The panel was chaired by Marilee Utter, president, Citiventure Associates LLC, Denver, Colorado. “The Christmas day bombing in Nashville was devastating. The aftermath has illuminated the tremendous importance of preserving the historic district in downtown,” said Utter. “Often overshadowed by other developments and districts, the panel characterized this neighborhood as ‘the place where locals go.’ In an economy as powerful as Nashville’s, we saw the pending tragedy to be loss of the district to market forces, and urged immediate action to save the beautiful architecture, reinforce the distinctive character, and strengthen pedestrian linkages to the river and other parts of the city.”
Utter was joined on the panel by Dorian DeBarr, interim president, Decide DeKalb Development Authority, Decatur, Georgia; Clara Fishel, advisor, NAI Mopper|Benton, Savannah, Georgia; Joe Giangrandi, senior associate/studio leader, LandDesign, Alexandria, Virginia; Faron Hill, president, Peregrine Oak, Atlanta, Georgia; Richard Perlmutter, managing member, Argo Development Company, Potomac, Maryland; and Gerry Widdicombe, director of downtown economic development, Downtown BID Corporation, Washington, D.C.
This panel is a virtual Advisory Services panel (vASP), a new Advisory Services product created as a response to continuing ULI’s mission of creating vibrant, sustainable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The vASP is 3.5 day panel that convenes a multi-disciplinary panel of 4 to 6 experts from across the United States who possess a range of professional backgrounds and use their collective skills to meet the needs of an identified land use or policy challenge.
Now in its 73rd year, the ULI advisory services program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 700 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.
According to Thomas Eitler, senior vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 45,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers, public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers. “The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is all about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”
To download the full ULI Advisory Services panel report, Nashville, Tennessee: Restoring Nashville’s Birthplace, visit ULI’s Knowledge Finder.
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