Redevelopment of former Ransom School site set to start

Long-running process, sometimes contentious, to culminate with 11 homes

Redevelopment of the West End-area site formerly home to the Ransom School building is expected to begin within three weeks, bringing to an end a sometimes contentious and long-running saga that occasionally pitted developer vs. neighbors.

The project — which received its final site plan approval from the Metro Planning Commission last week — is to be called Byron Close. It will include 11 freestanding single-family homes, according to Kevin Smith, the managing partner for a group of silent business investors. The developers will undertake the project as Byron Avenue 3501 LLC.

“The homes will maintain the integrity and historical style of the existing neighborhood,” Smith said. “And they will have the updated floor plans and the energy efficiency modern-day homebuyers want.”

Smith said Pinnacle Financial Partners is providing financing, with Ricon Construction to serve as general contractor and John Haas, principal at The Edge Group Inc., overseeing engineering efforts. Hal Rosson of Freeman Webb Co. will handle sales and marketing. All are local entities. Smith declined to note the architect or a projected cost for the project.

The two-acre property (seen above with the building in this aerial photo courtesy of Google Maps) is bordered by Interstate 440 on the east, Ransom Avenue on the west, Byron Avenue on the north and Richardson Avenue on the south.

The partnership has owned the property — last home to the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Randall’s Learning Center — since September 2008 and began the process of rezoning in 2009. Some locals wanted the former vintage brick and stone building, a portion of which was constructed in 1913, to be rehabbed. Given the building had been protected by an historic overlay, Smith and his team looked into sparing the structure but decided it was not cost effective. The developer later benefited from a Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling, which allowed demolition.

Smith, who credits Metro Councilwoman Burkley Allen for her assistance in the time-consuming effort (for a history, read here), said he feels a “majority” of residents in the area are on board with the development.

“We will be working with the Metro Historical Commission to oversee and approve our building plans for each house,” he said. “It’s a fabulous infill site for Nashville.”