Developers Focus on Belle Meade Plaza As Next Nashville Major High-Rise Project
By TOM WOOD / JANUARY 23, 2023
If you’ve been in downtown Nashville the last couple of years, you’ve certainly noticed Music City’s vertical growth. High-rises, towers and cranes are everywhere, changing the city’s skyline.
Suburban neighborhoods have seen similar growth and changes, though perhaps not as towering. That could soon change on the outskirts of Belle Meade, Nashville’s wealthiest enclave.
For the January 20 edition of the Nashville Ledger, I write how developers want to replace Belle Meade Plaza, which opened in 1961, with a mammoth mixed-use project that would include condominiums. rental units, a boutique hotel and 60,000 square feet of retail.
Developers’ plans for Belle Meade met with optimism, skepticism.
–Ledger cover by Mike Hopey
There would also be a dog park and plenty of green space. Green roofs, terraces and pools would top the towers. The plan also includes restoration of Richland and Sugartree creeks.
“Our vision for Belle Meade is to create a walkable, pedestrian-first public space. A public square for the community,” Ryan Doyle, AJ Capital’s senior vice president, said at a recent community meeting to lay out the plan.
Music City Bowl Turns 25
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been writing for the Nashville Ledger about various aspects of the proposed drama-filled game of political football that has kicked off in Nashville.
For the Dec. 2 edition, I wrote about how the proposed $2.1 billion enclosed stadium – if it wins final approval from the Metro Council sometime next spring – might affect the TransPerfect Music City Bowl and Nashville tourism. The ultimate goal is to be involved in the new College Football Playoff system, which will expand from four to 12 teams in 2024.
I spoke with Scott Ramsey, president and CEO of both the Nashville Sports Council and the Transperfect Music City Bowl, who makes it clear that having a new stadium could allow Nashville officials “to really chase and participate at a national level, whether it’s a national championship game, which we’re certainly going to pursue or see kind of where the bowl can kind of fit in within the new system.”
Nashville goal is to host college championship.
–Ledger cover by Mike Hopey
On the other hand, if the current Nissan Stadium is renovated and the city doesn’t have an enclosed stadium, it will likely drop the Music City Bowl to second-class status and negate opportunities to host other major sports events like hosting WWE’s Wrestlemania, an NCAA men’s Final
The 25th Music City Bowl will be played on New Year’s Eve between two 7-5 teams from the Big Ten (Iowa State) and the Southeastern Conference (Kentucky). It’s an 11 a.m., kickoff on ABC.
For the Nov. 11 edition, I spoke with House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) about the state legislature’s $500 million contribution for the proposed $2.1 billion enclosed stadium that – if it wins final approval from the Metro Council sometime next spring – would become the biggest public/private building project in Nashville history.
Across Tennessee, according to the Sycamore Institute, since 2021 state and local goverments have contributed more than $2 billion to subsidize new stadium projects and renovations of existing ones.
“We have a state that’s really performing well, and our economy is excellent in Tennessee,” Sexton told the Ledger. “We have an opportunity to do things that we’ve never seen before in our state. … I don’t see that as a subsidy; I see that as an investment. And a development that will pay itself back in time.”
In the Oct. 28 edition, we lay out the process the proposed $2.1 billion enclosed stadium that has been the focus of growing debate over the last few months from both sidelines. Stadium funding would come from the state, the Titans/NFL ($840 million that would also cover construction overruns) and the city ($760 million that would come from bonds issued by the Metropolitan Sports Authority, a 1% hotel/motel tax, and sales and use taxes collected at the stadium and its surrounding 130-campus).
In announcing the agreement, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said Nashville general funds will be protected by voiding the current lease with the Titans that puts the city on the hook for up to $1.95 billion in stadium upkeep over the next 17 years.
Now playing: Nashville’s version of Punt, Pass or Kick.
Ledger cover by Mike Hopey
Be Your Own Car Mechanic
In the Oct. 21 edition, we examine a growing trend of people learning how to do their own maintenance and light car repairs by watching YouTube videos in light of the increasingly difficult task of finding a mechanic to work on your car.
In one recent report, it was found that not only can it take consumers up to two weeks just to schedule a service appointment at a dealership or independent service center, but that the average start-to-completion time for said repair job increased 2.1 days between 2019-21.
Motor trend: Do-It-Yourself car repairs are popular.
Here are some other things I’ve written about in 2022:
Money Connects College Football Issues
Doug Mathews has spent most of his adult life either playing, coaching, or talking about college football. So when writing about the issues facing college football for the Sept. 23-29 issue of the Ledger, the former Vanderbilt athlete and Tennessee assistant coach, and current sports talk radio host was one of the first people I contacted.
Mathews has his finger on the pulse of those many issues – everything from name, image, likeness (NIL) to the transfer portal (scholarship athletes leaving schools to play elsewhere), from conference expansion to expanded college football playoffs, from conferences changing their TV packages and states changing their NIL laws. It seems to me all those issues were connected by one thing: money. And Doug, with a few exceptions, agreed.
College football’s top issues are all connected by money.
— Cover design by Mike Hopey
The Ledger package also looks at whether Nashville could someday host a College Football Playoff game now that its expanding from four- to a 12-team format beginning in 2026. Nashville is currently considering whether or not to build an enclosed stadium to replace aging Nissan Stadium.
Ledger Wins Award for General Excellence
By TOM WOOD / AUGUST 27, 2022
Congratulations to us! On Friday, August 26, the Nashville Ledger was named winner of the Tennessee Press Association’s top annual award for Division III General Excellence.
The Ledger also took first place in four other categories, led by columnist Joe Rogers, who won two first place awards for Best Personal Column (Nothing is black and white when discussing race) and Editorials (Remember when government intrusion was a bad thing, Militant Moonies might not be the ideal new neighbor and TN Health officials have some nerve doing their jobs).
Nashville Ledger wins top award for division.
Michelle Morrow won for Best News Photo (Nashville history not easily recreated), and the newspaper won a first for Best Coronavirus News Coverage by Catherine Mayhew (Who’s paying for COVID? All of us), Kathy Carlson (Getting more shots in arms, Will vaccine hesitancy extend to little arms? and No vaccine, no job? Not yet) and Tom Wood (Another COVID toll: $2 billion for funeral costs).
Congratulations to Lyle Graves, the Ledger’s general manager and executive editor, and the rest of the staff and writers. And here’s to more great work in the coming year.
As always, thanks for reading.