NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A groundbreaking Thursday began the transformation of Nashville’s East bank.

Developers say The River North project will change the way we eat, work and play along the Cumberland River.

MRP Realty and Creek Lane’s River North’s 13-acre, 1.3 million square foot mixed-use project is just a stones-throw from Germantown, at the south end of the River North district near Top Golf.

“I think it’s a unique opportunity for Nashville where we are taking land that’s so close to the center of everything but being underutilized,” Matthew Robinson, a principal with MRP Realty said, adding he couldn’t be happier about starting construction on the $260M project.

“Instead of turning your back on the river, you’re turning toward and facing the river and embracing it, and creating open space because there will be parks along the river and a bridge that will cross into Germantown and connect into the greenway pathway.

Phase I consists of 817,070 square feet of mixed-use space, including 651 residential apartment units, 78,000 square feet of office, and approximately 80,000 square feet of retail space spread across four buildings on the riverfront site.

Set to wrap in late 2023, River North anchors redevelopment on the East Bank with a walkable waterfront district, providing creative office space, vibrant retail, a 4-acre riverfront park, as well as two luxury apartment buildings: Oxbow and The Wayward.

“This is our moment,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony. “If we get it right, we will have a great city for the rest of the century, but we have to get it right. Nashville is not a place where we will pay you to come here anymore, it needs to be a place where you come here and bring your A-game if you’re going to develop.”

Mayor Cooper is thrilled about the current industrial space soon to be turning into a new neighborhood and community.

The adjacent Phase II is in design and will include additional mixed-use residential and retail development and will be joined by Oracle’s future campus for a walk-about new East Bank destination.

Formerly the site of a rail yard and shipping terminal, the project’s design pays homage to its historical setting by embracing the river as a central theme of the development.