MDHA study shows thousands more living, working downtown - WKRN News 2

MDHA study shows thousands more living, working downtown

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

A new study reveals what downtown Nashville could look like in the next five to 10 years.

The economic analysis by Randall Gross Development Economics was done at the request of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) to show the potential demand for real estate.

"This market study is the first comprehensive look we've taken at the downtown market in a number of years," said MDHA Executive Director Paul Ryan in a press release Wednesday.

According to the study, in the next five to 10 years, the projected demand for office space is expected to be between 294,000 to 445,000 square feet. Demand for residential use could bring as many as 3,535 new units.

In turn, more people living and working downtown would create more opportunities for retail and entertainment.

The opportunities are not just for developers. People living, working and playing downtown need a place to park and walk.

"If you like to go out and go to restaurants and drink, you don't have to worry about having a cab or a driver. If the weather's nice enough, you can walk almost anywhere from here," said Liza Blandford, who lives in The Gulch.

Newer downtown developments have the sidewalks that other areas lack. In many of those same areas, parking is at a premium. Those are decisions local leaders would have to address.

"The good news is there are workable solutions that can be put in place," said Mark Drury, MDHA Director of Communications. "We can make it easy for people to park and walk to neighborhoods and where there are restaurants and shops and residential areas."

The study is not without warnings. Occupancy rates are strong and demand for rooms is expected to increase, especially with the completion of the Music City Center.

However, the downtown area is in need of more full-service hotels that offer amenities beyond a basic room. Recent rapid growth of limited service hotels may overwhelm the market in the coming years.

Overall, the study shows great potential for more businesses, homes and shops in the coming years. MDHA contends there is enough real estate for everything the study suggests is possible for downtown, and hopes the study will guide the decisions of developers and city leaders in the years to come.

"I think we can look at it and give a forecast of what the demand is likely to be," Drury said. "What we don't want to do is overbuild. We don't want to see an overemphasis in categories that the market may not be able to support."

To view the complete study, visit Nashville-MDHA.org.

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