Archive for October, 2006

The Westin Beast Grows

crw_7094Okay, first, let me get my biases clear and out of the way: I am opposed to the proposed Westin hotel on lower Broadway. That’s why I’m disappointed to read that the behemoth is clearing hurdles, and growing all the while. The plan, if you’ve missed it, is to demolish the Trail West building, and now a neighboring property, and build a very large new hotel. Why am I opposed to the hotel’s presence? A few reasons:

  1. It’s too big. It’s huge, as a matter of fact. I can’t even remember what it started off as, but it ballooned at some point to 375 rooms, and now they’ve bought up another property and it sits at 342 rooms. It’s nearly 20 stories tall — and from what I understand, there are accusations that the height of these 20 stories is being underrepresented in renderings shown to the public. 20 stories will utterly dwarf the buildings around it.
  2. It threatens to undermine the historic character of Lower Broad. Because of the aforementioned size, this hotel could easily be the last straw in the breaking of Lower Broad. Nashville has struggled to find the magic combination to preserve the historic character of Lower Broad. We can make it work, and it’s worth fighting for. Knocking down historic warehouses to put up a 20-story hotel is a bad precedent.
  3. It doesn’t have to be there. Downtown Nashville is not strapped for space. Look around. It could go anywhere. And yet, here we are, encroaching on the one area of downtown Nashville that retains some unique character.

I don’t think there’s much public outcry about this because I don’t think many people know about it, or realize the scale of the change. The wheels are in motion on this, folks. The Westin hotel alone won’t kill lower Broad, but it could easily die the death of a thousand papercuts.

UPDATE: Brian in the comments points out that the Trail West building will not be demolished in its entirity, a change that I missed. Here’s the City Paper on this concession:

But the developers have made one major concession – saving the Trail West building in its entirety as well as a neighboring building on Lower Broad. Originally, the plan was to shave off the back of the building and build up.

Brad Robinette, a Sage senior vice president, said the idea was to maintain the two buildings so they are still contributing to Lower Broad as a historic district. With that change, the developers reconfigured the tower’s design so that it is set back from Broadway better. The original design was an L shape; now it looks more like a T.

This is good, but not great. I don’t think it changes my opinion for the same reasons that Ann Roberts detailed in the same article:

“They have made some changes in response to the concerns that were voiced earlier,” Roberts wrote in an e-mail. “But from the preservation perspective, three National Register-eligible buildings would be demolished, and the buildings the plan retains would lose their integrity, that is, be made non-contributing, because of the massive ‘addition’ of a 19-story building…

“From a broader view, it is still too much building too close to Broadway and to Third Avenue, and it sets a dangerous precedent for that very special area,” Roberts wrote. “The project would be very welcome elsewhere, but it’s not a compatible fit for the Broadway National Register Historic District!”

Question of the Day – Election Edition

We’ve got early voting going on right now….

What else do you wish you could do early?

I Can’t Wait

Hallelujah! I can’t wait for this bridge* to open! I plan on driving my car back and forth and back and forth as much as I can.

I will have my engine revving on the 25th. They better not be late with that ribbon cutting. I’ll bring extra scissors just in case.

* technically, it’s a viaduct

Question of the Day: 10/18/06

It’s Nashville. Lots of folks are singer/songwriters. Our McDonald’s and Walgreens have stages in them. But what’s the worst place for live music in the city?

Base your answer on whatever criteria you deem justifiable.

Stars on the Walk of Fame

Continuing the theme of updating previous stories, Reuters has a story about the inaugural stars to be included on Nashville’s “Walk of Fame.” A more detailed list is available on the Walk of Fame web site (which is a sub-site of the Convention & Visitors Bureau web site).

Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Fisk Jubilee Singers, Roy Orbison,
Songwriters Boudleaux & Felice Bryant
and Maestro Kenneth D. Schermerhorn

More information about each honoree is available at the link.

So what do you think? Good choices? Bad? Whom do you want to see be honored next? Which music names would it be a crime to overlook?

Question of the Day: Rainy Day Edition

It’s raining. What’s Nashville’s best indoor activity?

Mappy Hour

Since Kate O. updated us on her dancing query, I found this link that answers her question from a week or so ago regarding happy hour(s):

Mappy Hour

We all learned in 4th grade math that map+happy hour = mappy hour. And we all learned in college what to do with the information on the site. Some bar info is incomplete, so if that’s your watering hole, fill it out and show the rest of us what’s good where you drink.

Update on dancing in Nashville

Do you know about the Gridskipper travel web site? I didn’t. But luckily, Gridskipper knows about us. And someone who writes there noticed my post about dancing in Nashville and posted a response on Gridskipper.

The only venue listed in the article of which I wasn’t aware is NV Nightclub, which sounds intriguing, but only an excursion will tell. Sounds like a Thursday night trip is in order.

Edit: I hear NV is actually closed, as of a few months ago. But Decades may be worth checking into.

Question of the Day: City Council Edition

What kinds of things would you like to see city council doing so that stuff actually gets done?

I ask the question because of this bill, which would charge publishers $100 to put a stand on the street.

And, I don’t keep up with local politics as much as S-Town Mike, so check out his blog if you want to keep up with the other worthless legislation these folks are ‘working’ on.

Question of the Day: Weekend Edition

What’s the ugliest building in Nashville?

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