Small node south of Gulch sees development potential

Interstate loop acts as positive buffer between two areas

It is no secret the Gulch is hot.

But while development in the fast-changing urban district continues at a strong pace, a dynamic might be quietly emerging related to that change.

Developers of multi-story and multi-unit residential buildings are targeting an area located to the southeast of the Gulch and severed — or some might say, in a positive manner, “buffered” — from the mixed-use node by the inner-interstate loop.

In 2013, Charlotte-based Crescent Communities became the first developer to target a large-scale apartment project for the area, which is bordered by Division Street on the north, 12th Avenue on the east, South Street on the south and Music Circle East on the west. Crescent, which has yet to release detailed image for its building and is declining to comment specifically about its project, plans to build on the south side of Division Street between the interstate and a Best Western hotel.

And now Gulchetto Enterprises is planning a 41-unit three-story apartment building that, if built, would address Hawkins Street, Sigler Street and 13th Avenue. (Read more here and see image below.)

The equivalent of a mere nine square blocks, the area compensates for what it lacks in land mass with proximity to both the Gulch and Music Row and the potential for developers to assemble parcels to accommodate decent-sized buildings.     

“We find the area compelling because it’s not the Gulch but it’s very close to the Gulch,” said Brent Smith, an investor with Gulchetto and owner of Nashville-based Fiveash Development. “It doesn’t have the intensity of the Gulch — with the high-rises, restaurants and all the activity. But it’s a great location overall. It’s also more conducive to accessing Music Row. It’s a quiet area and it’s our intention to preserve the integrity of that quietness with our project.”

Smith said the low-key vibe of the area, which features mainly a combination of attractive free-standing single-family homes and modest rental properties, is appealing. And he feels the interstate acts as a “positive geographical buffer” to the bustle of the Gulch.

“The Gulch is more for the 20- and 30-somethings,” he said. “This area is for people who want to rent and are ready to sit at the ‘older adult table.’ It’s for the renter by choice.”

Gulchetto will go before the Metro Planning Commission on Thursday, July 24, to request to rezone the site from multi-unit residential to specific plan. The SP would provide for additional flexibility of design. The Metro Planning Department staff has recommended an approval.

Byron Roberts and Bill Ruff own the land and are working with, in addition to Smith, Jody Roberts on the development.

A quick scan, via Google Maps (see the below image, which can be manipulated for full viewing), of the area shows there are no fewer than five sites (either multi-parcel or relatively large parcel) that either have no buildings or have rental houses that could possibly be acquired and demolished for redevelopment.

Jim Caden, whose Caden Holdings owns numerous Gulch properties (including many located on the restaurant-oriented M Street), said the area south of the interstate shows redevelopment potential.

“The Gulch and surrounding neighborhoods will continue to offer development opportunities, with residential being the lead,” said Caden, who is teaming with a group of investors to undertake a development in the North Gulch. “I do agree that the potential expansion between 12th and 16th is a natural target.”

Crescent agrees.

“We believe strongly that both the Gulch and Music Row areas are very attractive for young people living in Nashville,” Ben Collins, regional vice president of Crescent Communities Multifamily Group, wrote in an email message to the Post. “There is tremendous walkability to restaurants, retail and nightlife. All the new residential development that’s coming to those areas will further enhance its livability.”

Smith said he envisions for the area four to five multi-story residential buildings in the 30- to 40-unit range.

“The area will be very different in four to five years,” Smith said. “We envision higher density than what is there now. But we want our project, if approved by Metro, to complement, blend with and protect the value of the quality single-family homes there now. New projects should not represent a ‘takeover’ of the area.”

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