River North: Massive East Nashville waterfront development including bridge, park underway - Southern Business Review


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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

River North: Massive East Nashville waterfront development including bridge, park underway

Construction on the largest land development in decades on the east bank of the Cumberland River in Nashville is getting set to begin in several months. 

Chicago-based Creek Lane Capital partnered with MRP Realty of Washington D.C. to buy 13 acres in East Nashville between Jefferson and Cowan streets for $42.5 million on Friday. 

On Monday, the team announced that they will start building 600 apartments surrounded by offices and 50,000 square feet of retail shops called The Landings at River North early next year.

The project will include a new pedestrian bridge connecting Germantown to East Nashville, a waterfront public park, and a marina. 

Investors have been working on a vision for this site for years, and hope to eventually expand commercial riverfront redevelopment on the east side down to Interstate 65.

"We valued the opportunity to do waterfront development in the city, and that’s the draw," said MRP Principal Matthew Robinson. "We think growth here will outpace other areas."

The Landings at River North, which is likely to attract more investment around it, and on nearby Dickerson Pike, is expected to open about two years after dirt starts moving.

New bridge and park coming

Work on the park and pedestrian bridge connecting Germantown and East Nashville will begin at the same time as the commercial development. 

The park will initially span 4 acres behind Topgolf, but is ultimately expected to stretch for one mile along the river.

Metro Council allocated $20 million from the capital funds budget, mostly financed by general obligation bonds, to help pay for the infrastructure improvements. The money will go toward street widening, new sidewalks and upgraded traffic signals along Jefferson and Cowan streets, as well as infrastructure throughout the development. 

"I look at this project and see great opportunities for this city," Mayor David Briley said. "I live on the other side of the river and I look forward to the day when this is complete and we get Cleveland Street connected all the way over here so I can ride my bike to Shelby Park on a bike lane from downtown."

The Landings at River North will overhaul the squat industrial warehouses and vacant waterfront lots behind Topgolf Nashville into 7-story-tall multifamily residential buildings, offices and shops. 

"There will be a lot of food, beverage and entertainment uses," Robinson said. "We're not in a position to announce any tenants but it's going to be a destination location."

'Nashville's premier neighborhood'

The vision for River North began nearly 20 years ago, when Chicago-based Monroe Investment Partners began buying up the land. 

The firm has already secured entitlements on the lots so construction work can begin now. 

"We've worked collaboratively with the city to develop the vision for River North that you see here today," said Don Allen, principal at Monroe. "Together with the city's investment in infrastructure, this will be the catalyst for development on the east bank and will make River North Nashville's premier neighborhood."

Allen hopes to expand the River North project to ultimately include 105 east bank waterfront acres. 

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This investment was spurred by a new federal tax break designed to boost economic development in distressed areas. The "Opportunity Zone" status allows investors to defer some tax payments for up to a decade. 

"We were looking at this site before it was made an Opportunity Zone," Robinson said. "The Opportunity Zone helped it along but we were already interested."

Sandy Mazza can be reached via email at smazza@tennessean.com, by calling 615-726-5962, or on Twitter @SandyMazza.