From article published in USA Today on April 7, 2009:
Nashville took its time getting around to the concept of an urban lifestyle catering to active single professionals and younger couples who want to live and play close to where they work.
For years, the liveliest part of town has been Music Row, a stretch of hundreds of businesses related to country, gospel and contemporary Christian music. In the 1970s, the city saw the start of restoration projects of some old buildings. But laws limited the creation of apartments downtown, in part because of lingering worries the units would become flophouses.
As a result, there is practically no housing in the central business district, says Phil Ryan, executive director of the city's Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency.
"It was anemic," he says. "There were just a few condominiums and a scattering of mid-rise apartments."
Ten years ago, Nashville entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Turner, whose family founded the discount stores Dollar General, and a group of developers began buying land in the Gulch. They wanted to create something new for Nashville — a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, mixed-income project — and were appointed by the city to make it happen in the 60-acre spot.
The development plan emphasized easy access to bus rides, more than 6,000 jobs within a half-mile walk and abundant bike and walking paths. Nashville, the nation's 21st-largest city with 650,000 people, anted up $7 million for new streets, landscaping and utilities. Construction cranes have dotted the landscape since 2001, and by the end of 2009, The Gulch will have one-quarter of the housing stock in downtown Nashville, the city says.
"It's a remarkable achievement," Mayor Karl Dean says. "As a city we needed to focus more on our environmental priorities and making the city a place where people would want to live."
Read full article here.