Gulch tower developer to use TIF for streetscape work

Infrastructure improvement project could make future development more manageable

The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency has approved tax increment financing valued at $5 million the developers of Gulch luxury condo tower Twelve Twelve will use to undertake major streetscape improvements in a key segment of the fast-changing urban district.

Nashville-based Hensler Development Group and Stiles Inc. of Florida will use the monies, with MDHA providing oversight, to provide new lighting, street trees and wider sidewalks along Laurel Street and 12th Avenue South. The infrastructure improvements, a portion of which will be done north of Demonbreun Street and toward McGavock Street, will impact about 12 acres in the Gulch.

“Not only will [the project] enhance the curb appeal of 1212, but it will touch [properties on which] new development in the Gulch is expected to generate over $750 million of new tax base for the city,” said Ray Hensler.

U.S. Bank will provide the financing, while JE Dunn, the general contractor on Twelve Twelve, will coordinate the project with Nashville Electric Service as utility poles and lines will need to be buried. Hawkins Partners, a local planning and landscape architecture company, will be part of the process, which will include a large-scale underground duct bank for both existing lines and those of future development.

Joe Cain, director of the MDHA Urban Development Department, said the project is needed.

“It’s a continuation of the work we began with the Gulch almost 10 years ago,” Cain said. “This project will continue that effort to make the Gulch an even more desirable place and make [this particular segment] easier to develop.”

Kim Hawkins, co-owner of Hawkins Partners, said she sees “great benefit in TIF” for the site due to its “pivotal location” within the Gulch.

“It serves as a gateway into downtown from the west and by ‘connecting the dots’ from the most active 11th and 12th intersection through this site to the M Street cluster and on to 11North and the future HCA headquarters in the North Gulch,” she said. “It is a benefit for the broader Gulch district through its connectivity and sets the stage for continued development within the core area of the Gulch. The dollars from the TIF add value and enhance the aesthetic by burying the electrical lines in duct banks thereby eliminating the overhead spaghetti that we see more often than not in Nashville.”