Friday, May 9, 2008

$45 million East Nashville project in the works


Mixed-use plan is latest to redevelop Main Street corridor

A developer is planning a $45 million mixed-use project on Main Street in East Nashville, the latest in a string of efforts to redevelop that corridor.

Double A Development, a Nashville firm whose previous projects have been in Germantown, bought the site of the old Bank of America processing building at 800 Main St., earlier this week.

The firm has not yet finalized plans for the property, but it is working on a project that would combine apartments and retail space, said Adam Leibowitz, a principal with Double A.
"We're not planning on holding the property long term but actively developing it," Leibowitz said. "You just don't find (large) sites as in-fill property every day."

The company hopes to springboard off efforts to remake Main Street, which connects downtown Nashville with the Five Points shopping district — considered the heart of East Nashville.
City officials are encouraging residential and commercial redevelopment of the strip, now often associated more with tire stores, gas stations and other businesses geared toward commuters.

"I think the changes so far have been positive, and I think this would also be a positive change," said Eric Jans, president of the Historic East Nashville Merchants Association and owner of a local insurance agency. "I don't have any reservations."

Double A is in talks with an architect for its project but has not chosen a general contractor. It does not expect to have final plan until this summer. Its preliminary cost estimates, how ever, would make its project slightly less expensive than the first phase of 5th & Main, a high-profile condo and retail complex now under construction three blocks away.

"It continues the trend that 5th & Main is setting," Metro Councilman Mike Jameson said of Double A's plans. "That redevelopment district is taking shape." Partner will join project
Double A plans to partner with another developer, Leibowitz said, although he declined to identify the firm.

Double A took the first step forward on its project Monday, when it bought the Bank of America building and surrounding land for $3 million, according to a deed filed in Davidson County.
The firm probably will tear down the building, which had been considered for a private school, Bridges Academy. That plan was scuttled last year.

The project would be Double A's first in East Nashville. It was a partner in the District Lofts condo project in Germantown and is developing townhouses at 600 Garfield St.

The property's size — just over three acres — was one factor that attracted Double A. The developer also liked it be cause the site faces Main and Woodland streets. Frontage on both makes the property ideal, said Alan Hayes, president of the executive committee of Rediscover East!, an umbrella group of East Nashville neighborhood groups.

"It's just yearning for something to be there," Hayes said.

Chas Sisk can be reached at 259-8283 or