Gulch to land boutique hotel

Thompson Nashville will rise 12 stories within district's epicenter

San Francisco-based Commune Hotels & Resorts announced today it will enter Music City via its boutique hotel Thompson Nashville, to be located in a Gulch building developed by MarketStreet Enterprises and a pair of partners.

The 224-room hotel, a price tag for which is not being disclosed, will sit on 0.64 acres at the 11th and 12th avenues split on what is currently a gravel parking lot. Rising 12 stories, Thompson Nashville will share the block home to the buildings housing venerable live music venue The Station Inn and The 404 Hotel and Kitchen (also a boutique hotel but with only five rooms).  

Work is expected to begin on the hotel, which will also feature retail space, restaurant space and underground parking, in early 2015 with a late-fall 2016 completion date targeted. 

MarketStreet, which the Metro Development and Housing Agency has tapped as the master developer of The Gulch, will team with AJ Capital Partners and The Berger Co., both of which own and develop hospitality properties. 

“Nashville is a booming city by various economic standards, including employment, construction and the influx of young professionals, but it’s the culture and atmosphere developing in The Gulch that led us all to believe that Thompson Hotels was the right fit for the neighborhood,” said Niki Leondakis, Commune Hotels & Resorts CEO and a former Nashville resident. “We’re honored that ownership chose Thompson Hotels, and for the opportunity for our hotel to sit so prominently on this iconic block within The Gulch.”

Nashville continues to land multiple boutique hotels, with Ace Hotel, Le Méridien and 21c Museum Hotels all slated to take space eventually within the city’s central business district. The city also has Aloft, Hotel Indigo, Hotel Preston and Hutton Hotel, among others. However, Leondakis (pictured at right), a former Nashville resident, said she is comfortable there will be room for them all.

“All the boutique hotels are an indicator of the increased attractiveness of Nashville,” she said, adding that the percentage of travelers who prefer distinctive hotels is increasing.

Commune Hotels & Resorts bills itself as an “international lifestyle hotel group” comprising the Joie de Vivre Hotels, Thompson Hotels and tommie brands. The company operates boutique hotels in Chicago, London, Los Angeles (Hollywood), Miami Beach and Toronto. It currently is having facilities built in Playa del Carmen (Mexico) and Seattle. In terms of population, Nashville will be the smallest U.S. city, by far, in which a Thompson Hotel is located.

Leondakis said Nashville is the first mid-sized U.S. city Commune considered for a Thompson Hotel.

“We are considering others now, but Nashville is our first foray into the mid-sized city sector," she said.

Thompson Nashville will be highlighted by an indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge offering panoramic views of downtown, Midtown and SoBro. The space — which will feature a stand-up bar, food offerings and a venue for private events — will be open to the public. 
Nashville-based Hastings Architecture Associates will give the hotel’s exterior a 21st-century design aesthetic. A rendering, seen here, shows exterior elements similar to those found in HAA-designed Twelve Twelve and under-construction 1201 Demonbreun (both in The Gulch). New York City-based Parts and Labor Design will create customized interiors in keeping with what Commune notes is the firm’s “bespoke approach to high-end design.”

Jay Turner, MarketStreet managing director, said The Gulch is the “perfect location” for a Thompson Hotel.

“[It is] a brand that respects the unique character of its environment — as it sits within close proximity to Nashville’s premier destinations and will become another marquee amenity for the home-grown urban neighborhood,” Turner said in a release.

Of note, MarketStreet has served as the developer or co-developer of Gulch buildings Icon, Pine Street Flats, Velocity and the under-construction Gulch Crossing.

“With construction of Gulch Crossing in full swing, this is an opportune time to introduce an exceptional hospitality component,” Turner added.

The aforementioned Berger Co. is based in New Orleans, with AJ Capital Partners  based in Chicago. 

“The industrial heritage, growing collection of boutique retailers and entertainment venues, and high-end urban residences [in The Gulch] provide an environment perfect for a truly special hotel — one that is committed to immersing itself into its surroundings,” Ben Weprin, AJ Capital Partners CEO, said in the release.

Brandon Berger, principal with The Berger Co., said Nashville has emerged as “one of the most attractive markets in the country.”

(Image courtesy of HAA)