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Commissioners Vote In Favor Of SoBro Towers

Posted at 10:14 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-27 09:44:25-04

Commissioners approved a height variance which would allow the development of controversial skyscrapers in downtown Nashville.

The height variance allows the two proposed towers of the same development to reach 40 stories. It was approved during Thursday night’s Metro Nashville Planning Commission meeting.

One of the two proposed towers in SoBro would hold apartments, and the other a 5-star hotel and condos.

They would also include five stories of public above-ground parking, and 10% of the apartments would be considered affordable housing.

Yet, the proposed development has caused quite a stir among those already living in the area.

There are currently no buildings that tall in downtown Nashville, and some have said their height would block the views of the river and city from other buildings as well as bring in extra traffic and congestion to the area.

“It just came out 11 months ago, and now what you’re asking to do is to throw out many of the things that were in that were recommended by that Nashville next,” complained one community member at the meeting.

Developers and architects connected to the project said the design was made with the neighborhood in mind. Two, thin towers rather than one, large block building will preserve many of the views of the river front and Nissan Stadium, they say.

The plan for 1st is to create a major streetscape and pedestrian friendly area, meant to better connect SoBro to the riverfront and Ascend Amphitheater. The plan also calls for a major revamping of the pedestrian bridge on that block.

Commissioners also noted that a larger discussion about traffic flow in and out of the proposed entrance on 2nd Avenue could happen later. Options such as making 2nd a two-way street and possibly opening another entrance on 1st were floated.

After listening to public comment, commissioners voted 7-1 in favor of the towers with two abstaining votes. Many urged the developer, The Congress Group, to include the affordable housing without the city subsidy. Representatives said they would look into whether that would be feasible.

Because it was just a height variance approval, the issue does not have to go before Metro council.