Nashville Renaissance: 21st Ave to 440

I’m talking about the stretch of 21st Ave just south of the “traditional” Hillsboro Village area all the way to the I 440 exchange. For decades this area has been a healthy and stable pocket of Nashville commercial real estate. There has been very little if any investment sales activity since I first moved here in 2006. The current owners have no reason to sell. It is the toughest question I must answer: “If I sell, then where is a better place to invest my money?” Many times, unfortunately for this humble broker, I do not have a compelling answer. And so for decades little has turned over.

I see that is about to change. The street’s ownership is aging and the cycle of life is happening.

Add in this thought: I see more interest and activity, both residential and commercial, centered around the 12th South commercial district. Vanderbilt and adjacent Hillsboro Village will always be the 800 pound guerrilla of Nashville.

Multiple factors are contributing to this phenomenon. First, 12th South was much more depressed. Developers and homeowners were able to buy cheaper properties to tear down and or fix up. Second, the emergence of the commercial district and the urban infill live, work play concept is very much viable along 12th South.

I’m a firm believer in Nashville Planning’s vision of Nashville. Starting decades ago, they sought to revitalize Nashville centered around clustered urban neighborhoods. The first to take shape being Hillsboro Village. Their work and vision is taking off and it is exciting to be a part of each day.

Adding to their vision of Nashville, I’d like to see them extend Hillsboro Village all the way to the I-440 exchange. Currently, most properties in this stretch of 21st Ave S are zoned OR 20. Office/ Residential, 20 units per acre. No retail is allowed.

As the commercial properties start to turn over after a long period of stability, I’d like to see this stretch of 21st Ave turn into a mixed use community. Yes, we’d have to be careful to strike a balance. Allow for retail and restaurants. Require new development be pushed up to the street.

An updated or new overlay will benefit everyone. As we’ve seen elsewhere, residential values will increase and commercial properties will garner more interest.