NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a transformative construction project that rebrands an entire section on the edge of downtown now known as Nashville Yards. Gazing at the site, Joe Bucher sees beyond the heavy equipment and swarms of crews dotting the project. As Director of Strategic Design for Southwest Value Partners, he’s spent the past 5 years reimagining how the area could best support a growing city.
“This was a sleepy end of town when we started on Nashville Yards,” said Bucher, “and now, it’s become this vibrant area.”
The name, Bucher explained, is a nod to past eras when the strip along Broadway was the lifeline of the city. “It was a train yard. It was a brickyard, and before that, it was a stone yard. And, it was a lumber yard.”
The project’s developers sought to preserve the past by purchasing and restoring the iconic Union Station Hotel, once the city’s central train terminal.
“The weaving of the historic fabric, the old and the new juxtaposition, I think it’s really important to demonstrate vibrance,” said Bucher.
Giving the same ground new purpose that, Bucher hopes, will hold as much significance in today’s industry as it once did. “Nashville Yards becomes a nexus of a next-generation workforce for the way that downtown Nashville will really materialize.”
Thanks largely in part to Amazon’s Center of Excellence. Placed at the north of the project, it’s set to open in Spring 2021.
“Not only is there a world-class company like Amazon, one of the largest companies in the world, that will change the way that the culture of our city works, but it will also influence the things that happen around it.”
A different style of workplace that looks to create a city within a city. “It’s walkable, it’s urban, it’s connected,” said Bucher.
An all-encompassing lifestyle of home, work, and recreation has proven successful in places like New York City.
It starts here said Bucher, “This hole that you see in front of us, this is the excavation for the parking garage.”
On top of the site will sit the AEG Entertainment District – a 4,000 seat music venue, a movie theatre, and restaurants.
A new road will link the complex. “For the first time, you’ll be able to walk from Broadway to Church Street,” explained Bucher.
It will offer protected bike lanes and sidewalks. The 25-floor Grand Hyatt Nashville opens October 1st. And, residential towers are in the works.
“We have public space throughout this entire project that will weave the entire end of the city back together.”
Connection is an important nuance in construction, but it’s also central to Nashville’s appeal to the world.
“We have great learning institutions. We have incredible job growth in a variety of markets. We have a great tourism trade,” said Bucher. “The success of all of these individual things has really created the ‘it’ city vibe.”
A vibe, Bucher believes, is here to stay. “When we come out the current state of the world, the COVID world, those are the same positive things we’re going to see and that’s why Nashville will thrive in the future as well.”
News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Click here for more Nashville 2020 reports.