Community Organizations Voice Strong Support For Rutledge Hill Historic & Culinary Arts District Development

Development Proposal Includes New Medical, Law Enforcement and Community Arts Facilities

As Nashville’s Rutledge Hill Historic & Culinary Arts District development progresses within Metro’s review process, leading voices and community organizations from across the city have weighed in with strong words of support for the project. Nestled in the heart of South Bank, the multi-faceted development not only promises new housing, hospitality and culinary options for Nashville’s residents and visitors—but is also expected to contain programming for a new medical walk-in clinic, as an offered and dedicated space for the Metro Nashville Police Department, as well as other various community-oriented programs. Many aspects of this mixed-use development were shaped from community outreach, reflecting the desires of the existing neighborhood of Rutledge Hill.

The support for this project has been resounding, with numerous community leaders and organizations across Nashville expressing their backing. Historic Nashville Inc. (HNI), the city’s leading advocacy organization for the historic preservation of Nashville’s historic buildings, issued a letter of support, stating this development “will benefit HNI and its overall mission to protect historic properties in Nashville…and we support it moving forward.” Moreover, The Preservation Society of Nashville also extended a similar letter of endorsement for the project. Praise for this new culinary district for Nashville came from Butch Spyridon, CEO Emeritus of The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp., who highlighted the project’s platform for local artisans to showcase their craft for both Nashville residents and visitors, alike. Additionally, local restaurateur, Randy Rayburn, a strong supporter of the Nashville culinary arts scene, expressed his commendation of the project to the development team, which consists of Essex Development and GBX Group, LLC.

In a separate letter of support, the Nashville Children’s Theatre said, “With the utmost enthusiasm, The Nashville Children’s Theatre wholeheartedly endorses and supports the planned Rutledge Hill Historic, Culinary and Community Arts Development as outlined for this block.” The project is programmed to expand the footprint of the neighboring Nashville Children’s Theatre, which has outgrown their existing campus, and is in substantial need of additional facilities.

World-renowned architecture firm Snohetta meticulously designed three new towers for this master-planned district, respecting the prominence and prestige of the existing, historic Victorian-era homes on the block. These historic homes will be preserved and repurposed as culinary destinations and interconnected by the site’s paseos and landscapes. The development’s rich landscapes, sculptural tower forms, and the new buildings’ unique facades pay homage to the historic palette of the Victorian homes, while being responsive to solar orientation, creating a dynamic pedestrian experience and adding to the iconic Nashville skyline. For background, Snohetta previously master-planned a multitude of elements within the new World Trade Center, the revamped Times Square in New York City, and countless remarkable places around the globe. For this important district in Nashville, and alongside Essex Development and the GBX Group LLC, Snohetta tailored their design approach to seamlessly integrate the pedestrian’s experience between the historic buildings and the new structures within the district. Most all leading voices and community organizations that reviewed this master-planned project agreed that this district will likely stand as the national benchmark of how historic architecture can work with new development to benefit a surrounding neighborhood and city overall.

“While Nashville’s commercial development in recent years has clearly helped facilitate our city’s growth, this project is unique in that its focus is on meeting the needs of our community far beyond housing and hospitality. From public safety and enhanced access to healthcare services, to historic preservation, new dining options, exceptional architecture, and serving as an incubator for local artists, this development will provide far more than just new housing and hospitality offerings. This is a project that all of Nashville can benefit from,” said Matt Williams of Essex Development.

About The Joint Venture Development Group

GBX Group, LLC specializes in acquiring, preserving, and operating historic real estate in urban markets. The company partners with family-office investors to preserve historic real estate with the goal of generating community revitalization and economic growth. As of January 2023, GBX has been involved in 196 real estate projects in 24 states.

Essex Development is a family-based commercial real estate firm founded by Stephen Williams and his two sons, Matthew and David. The Williams family has been involved in real estate for decades, with extensive development experience in the Louisville and Nashville markets. More recently, Jai B. Patel, the co-founder and former leader of HVS’s Consulting and Valuation office in Nashville, was brought onto the team in 2022 to bolster the team’s hospitality endeavors. The partners have recently added other Nashville and Louisville personnel to enhance their development and investment position(s) within the Southeast and Midwest regions.

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