Giarratana lands Metro incentives for SoBro hotel

Developer plans 400-room Marriott across from convention center

Giarratana Nashville LLC has secured about $3 million in tax incentives from Metro and is prepared to move forward on the development of a Marriott hotel on First Baptist Church property in SoBro.

The Post has obtained a letter, dated July 11, that the Nashville-based development company sent to the church’s board of trustees. In it, company president Tony Giarratana writes the following:

“We are pleased to report that Metro has granted us the modest amount of public support we requested to facilitate development of a full-service, 400-key Marriott Hotel on the optioned parcel on Demonbreun Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Metro’s support will be in the form of a tax abatement, which may also be offered for development of other full-service hotels.”

Giarratana officials could not be reached for comment as to the amount of tax incentives the company will receive or when work will start on the project, a rendering of which is below. Similarly, company officials have not disclosed the specific Marriott brand for the project.

The company will use global architecture firm Gensler to design the tower, which is expected to stand approximately 190 feet tall. Gensler (read more here) has about 3,500 employees working in 43 offices internationally and has designed some of the world’s most high-profile buildings, including the World Trade Center in Saudi Arabia and the Government Communications Headquarters in the United Kingdom. Gensler — which in 2012 generated the most revenue of any architecture firm based in the United States, according to Architectural Record — likely will be the most high-profile architecture company ever to design a Nashville building.

Relatedly, Denver-based Swerdling and Associates plans to use Metro tax incentives to develop a Hyatt Regency hotel (read more here) on the Lower Broadway site on which a Westin hotel was previously proposed.

Mayor Karl Dean issued the following statement regarding the two hotels:

"With the Music City Center now open, there is a tremendous need for more hotel capacity, and private developers are interested in investing hundreds of millions of dollars into two separate full-service hotel projects in our city. Metro is willing to commit a modest amount of money in incentives — approximately $3 million to each project — contingent on them working out their private financing deals.

"In exchange for the assistance, they have committed to room-block arrangements to accommodate meetings at the Music City Center and to put in place a Diversity Business Enterprise program to ensure subcontractors during construction include minority-owned, women-owned and small businesses. No existing city revenue will be used. The incentives would be in the form of tax increment financing for [the] proposed Hyatt Regency on Lower Broadway and tax abatement for [the] proposed Marriott Hotel in SoBro. Both projects would generate significant employment and additional revenue for the city during construction and after completion of the hotels."

In late February, the First Baptist Church congregation voted to accept Giarratana’s $11 million offer for a large portion of its property that fronts Demonbreun Street and runs between Seventh and Eighth avenues. The deal (read more here) was contingent on the development company securing tax incentives from Metro.

The Marriott hotel will sit across Demonbreun Street from the new Music City Center. The property includes surface parking and a small building that provides housing for women in life transitions, which will be razed for the hotel. The site does not include the building home to Goodyear and fronting Eighth.

Giarratana Development has until Aug. 31 to buy the 1.26-acre parcel.

Giarratana Development, which has developed, among others, Nashville high-rises Encore, The Cumberland and Viridian, currently is co-developing 2110 Elliston with Jones Lang LaSalle (via I & G Elliston Inc.). The company has also targeted a SoBro parcel on Demonbreun Street between Second and Third avenues for a high-rise apartment tower to be called SoBro.

Relatedly, First Baptist Church officials are planning major additions for their property, to be funded in large part by the proceeds of the sale to Giarratana (read more here).