Study: Downtown could add 3,500 residences over next five years

MDHA releases analysis of core's retail, office, hotel, residential projections

Downtown Nashville will be able to accommodate about 3,500 single-family and multi-unit residences over the next five years, according to a study the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency released today.

The study, conducted by Randall Gross / Development Economics, projects office, retail, hotel and residential demand for areas located within the inner-interstate loop (bounded by I-65, I-24 and I-40), with a particular focus on the  potential for SoBro and the Rolling Mill Hill area.

“Much of [the development] potential can be captured in SoBro, which constitutes the largest under-developed neighborhood within the study area,” the study reads. “However, The Gulch has more sites prepared and has momentum especially for housing development, to capture significant demand within the short term. SoBro is more likely to capture hotels, dining and entertainment uses in the short term after Music City Center opens in 2013.”

Randall Gross / Development Economics teamed with Third Coast Design Studio and Hodgson & Douglas, both of which are Nashville based, to conduct the study. The price tag was $47,100.

In addition to the residential projection, which envisions up to 650 free-standing single-family homes, key findings of the study include the following:

• The office space demand is projected to be between 294,000 to 445,000 square feet of space between 2013 and 2017. The study suggests information and media technologies, professional and technical services, and management services will be the strongest demand drivers.

• Occupancy rates among downtown Nashville hotels is strong and the demand for hotel rooms will grow as the Music City Center convention facility comes on line. However, demand will be primarily for full-service hotels and the rapid growth in limited service hotels in downtown and Midtown may prompt an oversupply in that segment of the market.

• Strong opportunities exist for downtown to capture growing demand in certain market segments, including dining, retail and entertainment; “artisan” industrial uses; and audience-support facilities such as cinemas and musical/theatre venues.

• Downtown Nashville has significant unmet potential for destination retail, but still lacks walkable shopping and mixed-use districts with parking that can attract consumers from the greater Nashville region.

“This market study is the first comprehensive look we’ve taken at the downtown market in a number of years and I think it can help inform our decision making,” MDHA Executive Director Phil Ryan said in a release. “Our goal is to build on the unique qualities of Nashville and to create a vibrant downtown that will draw people to live, work and play.”

The study can be viewed here under "Downtown Nashville Market Study."