(Editor’s Note: Article edited on 8/24/23 after NDP shared corrected statistic of tax revenue from downtown and statistic of reason for living downtown.)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The thousands of people who reside in downtown Nashville are only expected to get more neighbors as a growing trend continues.
“The drive to want to live downtown has increased and especially through the pandemic where people just want to be somewhere and be able to walk to work, and be able to walk to amenities and restaurants, and entertainment,” said Nashville Downtown Partnership Economic Development Vice President Tamara Dickson.
Their Market Conditions Report for the second quarter of 2023 showed residential occupancy is at 93% with about 17,000 people living downtown. Right now, there are 4,003 residential units currently under construction with thousands more being planned.
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“It is a true neighborhood, it’s made up of a variety of smaller pocket neighborhoods. But this trend is really only going to continue,” said Dickson. “We look at our numbers that are under construction right now and all of the planned projects in the pipeline and if everything comes to fruition, we will have 40,000 residents by 2030.”
According to the NDP, 62% of downtown residents said walkability was a top reason for choosing where they live. The NDP report showed 69% of merchants downtown are local, 20% are regional and 11% are national.
“A lot of people don’t realize that but downtown is very local. And a lot of the restaurants and retailers that have moved here, they’ve actually picked up from another city, moved their entire headquarters and operations to Nashville, because they wanted to live here. They brought their families here. So that number is extremely strong. And we’re proud of that,” said Dickson.
The report showed about 13% of office spaces are vacant and the retail space vacancy sits at just under 3%.
“One thing that’s very interesting for downtown Nashville is that we use Placer AI data, and then we confirm it with our parking garage data that we track. And looking at January through June of 2019 (pre pandemic), comparing it to January of June of this year, our numbers are back for people being in the office 75% of pre pandemic numbers,” said Dickson. “Across the board, downtown Nashville is really thriving and really growing. We continue to see that month after month following the pandemic. But even during the pandemic, development did not stop downtown. It’s amazing. Our actual vacancy rate, retail vacancy rate dropped during the pandemic, when across the nation it grew and a lot of cities still have vacant space now.”
Dickson said they try to balance the needs of everyone using the downtown area.
‘It’s just really the equilibrium of the play versus the live and work,” said Dickson. “We are very active in watching that as it evolves, especially in lower Broadway, and really working with our merchants and our property owners and our business owners to push back against some of the things that would cause that to be out of equilibrium.”
Dickson added that recent stats also showed how the rest of Nashville benefited from the successes of the downtown area. According to NDP, downtown makes up half a percent of the land area of Davidson County and provides 12% of property taxes and 19% of sales taxes.
“So we not only provide downtown we provide for the rest of the county.”