Buckingham hopes to break ground on Midtown project in Q2

Indianapolis-based developer Buckingham Cos. is hoping to break ground in the second quarter of 2013 on its hotel-anchored mixed-used project proposed for Midtown.

Following last week’s successful rezoning effort before the Metro Planning Commission, Buckingham will now go before the Metro Council. The first meeting is slated for Jan. 8. A public hearing will be held on Feb. 5, with a final council vote tentatively set for Feb. 19.

James Weaver, a Waller attorney who specializes in land-use matters, said the site — which addresses 21st Avenue, Broadway and Division Street — is worthy of a quality, high-profile project.

“Given the mass available under the base zone, the developer was extremely judicious with the final massing proposal,” Weaver said of the plan the planning commission approved.

Buckingham wants to reinvent about 1.75 acres containing the former building home to Mario’s (lost to a fire) and structures accommodating Ken’s Sushi, Benchmark and Wendy’s. The site is unusual — and many would say prime — in that it addresses three major streets in Midtown.
Buckingham, which is working with the LaGasse family (which has long owned the properties) and Littlejohn Engineering Associates, plans a project that will include a 19-story hotel, retail and residential space, and structured parking. (See more images here.)

Weaver, who declined to note what hotelier Buckingham is eyeing, said the development team will be working with Metro Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, other member of the council, and area businesses and residents.

“In this case, Buckingham is a new entity to Nashville,” Weaver said. “Everybody who has met the Buckingham people is excited. But there are people who haven’t met them yet, so we’ll take this opportunity to introduce them. It’s all about education.”

Weaver, who referenced H.G. Hill Realty’s looming rehab project at Division and 21st, the Adelicia and various nearby restaurants, called the site on which the development will rise “an important piece of real estate.”

“There are not many of these parcels around,” he said. “But it’s about more than this project alone. It’s about the general area.”