Amazon HQ2

Corporate giant Amazon is on a national search for HQ2. A second but equal headquarter office setting off a bidding war across the nation.

This is a mega opportunity for any city. Below are details provided by Amazon:

  • Fifty Thousand (50,000) new full time employees
  • Average total compensation exceeding $100,000
  • 8,000,000+ square feet
  • $5 Billion in capital expenditures

In this blog, I think BIG and creative. This HQ2 opportunity is really exciting.  Landing it immediately changes the profile of any city.  Nashville must think big enough to match this opportunity.  I want to present a big and creative idea.

The opportunity is too large for one single development firm or site.  The city/ state needs to pull together multiple development sites within the Nashville CBD and layout a clear public infrastructure upgrade/ investment plan.

Site Plan

I propose getting the Nashville Yards (Lifeway), Gannett/ N. Gulch & West End Summit site developers together on the same page with a master plan.  Together, rough calculations of the floor to area ratio @ 5 to 1 is 6.5+ million buildable square feet.  More if you increase the traditional density/ height.  In addition, there are multiple parcels available in the immediate areas to increase footprint.  I have more sites/ ideas but thought this one is unique and well located.

 

Big Creative Idea

What if Nashville covers the railroads that divide the Rail Yards & N. Gulch?  That covered space can link the two sites and establish a much-needed green space to that area of downtown Nashville.  Turing an eyesore and noise nuisance into an attractive urban amenity. See the link below for a post I made on the topic:

http://www.kwasekcre.com/nashville-renaissance-gulch-sobro-pedestrian-connector/

 

It is a complex idea and difficult working with the railroad companies.  Nashville has pulled off great feats in the past that had city altering effects.  For example, building Nashville Arena with no tenant.  Ultimately, the city landed an NHL franchise (Predators) which was/ is a key factor in revitalizing lower Broadway. Second, building the new Music City Convention Center in the depths of the Great Recession.   The MCC helped to reshape SoBro and our city’s national profile.

 

Underground Transit

A phase of the Mayor’s underground proposal can run from the Rail Yards to West End Summit. Connecting Amazon employees & the sites together.  And provide further access into lower Broadway, Nissan Stadium and further west out of town.

 

List of Criteria

Population 1 Million+: ✓

Stable & Business Friendly: ✓

A+ Infill CBD Location: ✓

International Airport: ✓

Proximity to Highways & Arterial Roads: ✓

Mass Transit: ✓

8+ Million SF: ✓

Larger cities are at a competitive disadvantage.   They are already built out.  8+ million square feet is a large footprint.  Finding that footprint well located in a CBD might prove difficult for other cities.  Nashville has much to offer.