City Planners Reveal First Draft For Music Row

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 23:32:38-05

How to guide development around Music Row is a major question the city has been working to answer for months.

Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation said 66 properties on Music Row could be candidates for the National Register. And today more than 200 music-related businesses call Music Row home.

The lifeblood of Nashville is indisputably its music. And while music is played all over Music City it's made on Music Row.

“It's a place of energy, it's a place of what I feel (is) spirituality and it’s very important to me and it’s very important to Nashville,” said Catch This Music owner and Music Row Neighborhood Association President Eddie Robba.

The Row's character is what so many want to preserve as the city grows and the financial pull of prime real estate grows with it.

“It’s close to downtown, it’s close to Vanderbilt, it’s close to a lot of existing development and there is enormous development in that area,” said Metro Planning spokesperson Craig Owensby, referencing how attractive the land in and around Music Row has become to developers.

Music lovers took part in months of public discussion on the topic. And this week city planners revealed their initial draft of development guidelines: a tiered system, with height restrictions from three stories in the south up to 20 stories in the north as Music Row transitions from neighborhood to city.

Robba thinks that could help keep the big labels here.

“Offering this kind of step-down plan, (means) that buildings can come back to the Row and not move downtown where there are bigger buildings,” he said.

Another issue the city is weighing: how to bring tourism back to the area.

“How do you make it a place that that is tourist-friendly without actually disturbing the business that goes on in Music Row,” Ownesby asked. It’s a question that planners have not fully answered. But ideas like a visitor’s center, historical markers and mobile apps are included in the first draft.

“I think the fans need to be able to interact, see, touch and feel, be closer to what’s going on here,” Robba said.

Friday Reverie Lane was recording at Robba's studio when NewsChannel 5 paid him a visit. He says fans need to see more than closed doors and be able to take part in some way with the excitement he's surrounded by every day.

City planners will meet with the local community again in the spring and will offer a final plan for the Planning Commission to review this summer. They are waiting on several business, cultural and historical studies to be completed before then.