November 4, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Downtown Nashville has been enjoying a Renaissance in recent years with the opening of numerous new restaurants, stores, hotels and apartment buildings.
Now a local developer and a national company have joined forces to attempt what would be one of the biggest new projects in the city’s recent boom: a mixed-use development on the site of the city’s old convention center, expected to cost about $500 million.
The venture of Spectrum Emery, led by veteran Nashville developer Pat Emery and San Diego-based OliverMcMillan, is planning twin towers with about 200,000 square feet of retail, about 500,000 square feet of office and 250 to 300 apartments. It also would include the National Museum of African American Music.
The site went up for grabs because the city opened a new convention center last year. Mr. Emery, who won the competition to redevelop the site, said he brought in OliverMcMillan because of its expertise in retail development.
The venture still has a few hurdles to clear including additional government approvals, preleasing and arranging debt and equity financing. If all goes well, the developers hope to begin demolition next year, according to Dene Oliver, chief executive of Oliver McMillan.
“This is a pivotal point for Nashville,” Mr. Oliver said. “You drop a $500 million project into the middle of the city and you’re going to have a ripple effect.”