NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Whether you’re putting up a home or a skyscraper, finding a spot to build in Nashville isn’t easy. The population is booming, and land is scarce. In Every Nook and Cranny, News 2 looks at the creative ways folks are making their home in The Music City.
From 1960s Nashville to today, Music City is not what it used to be. People are flooding in, and that’s brought a lot of creativity when it comes to finding a place for everyone to live.
“Probably, one of the number one issues that builders face is finding land. And even harder is finding land that we can build houses on that’s affordable to the middle class,” said Trevor Garrett, president of Cobalt Ventures.
Garrett is taking one piece of land and putting two homes on it with tall skinnies – a popular home style in The Nations. He says lumber is the most expensive part of the home. Tall-skinnies are simple builds, and therefore more affordable for buyers.
“Most of these tall-skinny homes are relatively four corners. So, they’re efficient to build and they allow us to build more density as people look to be closer to downtown Nashville,” said Garrett.
And some people want to be right downtown in the thick of it. Nashville Historian David Ewing says in the early 2000s only 900 people lived in the downtown core; today, that number is nearing 18,000. And developers are trying to squeeze every one in, cash in on the interest and build taller buildings.
“In the next five or 10 years, the most scarce building in downtown Nashville will be the one or two story building,” said Ewing. “In the last ten years, it’s really become harder to find choice property to build downtown. The land has gotten more expensive, and there aren’t that many large lots left. So developers have gotten really creative in buying land that you probably wouldn’t build a four or five story building, and building a 20 or 30 story building on that lot.”
Alcove is a great example. A 34-story apartment building built on a parcel that’s about 65 feet wide, allowing residents to live, work and play in Nashville Yards, the Gulch and Broadway.
“Today the number one entertainment district in America is lower Broadway,” said Ewing.
And with any success, comes growing pains too. Former Zoning Administrator Jon Michael is watching closely. He says as density goes up, a rewrite of Nashville’s zoning code is inevitable for the next mayor.
“We are going to have to go through that huge process of the comprehensive rewrite of the Metro zoning code to make it work right for modern Nashville today, and what works correctly for the development of Nashville in the generation to come – and that’s no easy task, as you might imagine,” said Michael.