NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Mayor Karl Dean joined officials with the Metro Development and Housing Agency to break ground on the Ryman Lofts Wednesday morning.
The Ryman Lofts will be located in the Rolling Mill Hill area of downtown Nashville, bordered by Hermitage Avenue and the Cumberland River.
It will be the city's first affordable community designed specifically for artists.
"Nashville is known around the world for the work of our creative community and each year more people move here to Music City to pursue careers in the arts," Dean said in a press release. "The Ryman Lofts speak directly to the uniqueness of the Music City identity and will continue to help cultivate the city's culturally rich and diverse community by creating affordable urban housing opportunities for artists."
The 60-unit apartment community is expected to open in 2012.
It will include one-bedroom and three-bedroom units, unconventional floor plans, large windows, and significant meeting spaces for artistic endeavors.
The construction costs for the Ryman Lofts are estimated at $5.2 million.
The idea for the community came from the Music City Music Council, which recognized that making affordable urban housing available to artists can spur the development of small businesses.
The entire community was designed with artists in mind and with the help of a focus group made up of local artists.
Just down the hill from the Ryman Lofts site, Nashville's Historic Trolley Barns are being renovated into more than 80,000 square feet of space that will house some of Nashville's premier non-profit and creative companies.
The Mathews Group is developing the Trolley Barns.
Mayor Dean announced several future tenants Wednesday, including Emma, the Center for Nonprofit Management, Hands on Nashville, The Entrepreneur Center, Centric Architects and MDHA.
A restaurant will also be located in Trolley Barn closest to the river and announced at a later date.
The Entrepreneur Center received a $2.5 million grant from the Economic Development Administration for their renovation of Trolley Barn No. 1, a 22,000 square foot facility that will house 72 incubation spaces, educational facilities, and office space.
The grant is the largest EDA grant in Tennessee history.
The first businesses are scheduled to begin moving into the renovated Historic Trolley Barns by the end of 2011.