Posts tagged with "Tennessee":

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Nashville’s new $250 million soccer stadium takes shape

Nashville, Tennessee, received an early Christmas present last year, in the form of a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion club. Nashville was one of 12 cities with ownership groups vying for four possible expansion clubs, and on December 20, MLS made the announcement that the music city would be the first to be awarded a new team. Though the official announcement happened in late December, Nashville has been working toward a new team for well over a year. This includes plans for a completely new stadium. Early designs for the 27,500-seat stadium surfaced mid-2017, with plans to position the pitch in the Fairgrounds, home to the Tennessee State Fair, located in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. While details about the stadium are still being worked out, HOK will lead the design, adding it to the long list of stadiums the international firm has worked on in recent years. The road to a new professional soccer team and the subsequent stadium has been a long one for Nashville. The 12 other cities attempting to secure an expansion team included Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, just to name a few in the region. While the bid has garnered popular support from the city and state, not everyone was pleased with the proposed placement of the stadium. In late 2017, before Nashville had been awarded the expansion position, a local lawyer filed a lawsuit against Metro Nashville. The suit alleged that the city had violated its charter by proposing a stadium at the Fairgrounds, a park which is designated for the annual state fair and other public events. Just days before the official MLS announcement, a court sided with the defense and dismissed the case, helping pave the way for the team’s new home. While the stadium is expected to cost around $250 million, an additional $40 million will be spent updating the Fairgrounds, which are in need of numerous infrastructural improvements. A tentative timeline has construction beginning by the end of 2018, with the team’s first season starting in 2020. During construction, the grounds will remain partially open in order to continue hosting fairs, public markets, and events. Since 2004, 14 teams have joined the MLS. Nashville will be the 24th team in the league, which hopes to be up to 28 teams in the near future. For this round of expansion, Nashville set itself apart by pointing out that it had played host to a number of well-attended international matches in recent years. Though the club has not announced official colors, a logo, or even a name, the city council will soon be reviewing the stadium plans for approval. With the already-expressed support from the mayor, that process is expected to go well. Who knows? It may be only a matter of time before the sound of soccer chants, accompanied by steel guitars and fiddles, spill out of honky-tonks across the city.
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Memphis Cook Convention Center is about to receive a major facelift

The city of Memphis, Tennessee, will be 200 years old in 2019. In anticipation of that milestone, the city is investing in improvements throughout the downtown and along the Mississippi. Along with redeveloping the Mississippi Riverfront, Mud Island, and the Pinch District, the Memphis Cook Convention Center renovation is part of the much larger citywide Bicentennial Gateway Project. Led by the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK) and Atlanta-based tvsdesign, the overhaul will affect the entire complex, including the neighboring Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. In the first week of the year, the City of Memphis filed for the project’s first construction permit, which lists the budget at $175 million. That money will be drawn from a 1.8 percent hotel tax and Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) funds gathered from the convention center’s surrounding neighborhood. The most dramatic changes to the convention center will come in the form of an expanded footprint and outdoor terraces with views to the river and downtown skyline. New glazed concourses and meeting rooms will increase breakout space while providing more views of the city. In the 125,000-square-foot main exhibition hall, new retractable ceiling lights and additional material upgrades will allow for a 40,000-square-foot secondary hall to be carved out from the west end. The number of breakout rooms will also be expanded from the current 30 to 52. Access to the building will be updated with the addition of a new grand entrance and a new sky bridge. The new grand entrance will open to the Main Street Trolley station and neighboring Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel. The sky bridge will connect the convention center to the Sheraton. Back-ofhouse access will also be improved with a redesign of the loading docks. The neighboring 2,100-seat Cannon Center for the Performing Arts will undergo a complete cosmetic update, as well as backstage improvements. Along with the performing arts, more public art will be brought to the complex through a partnership with ArtsMemphis and the Urban Art Commission, as well as private contributions. In order to establish these goals, the Memphis Meeting Planners Advisory Board met with convention and event planners from around the country. Along with this research, feasibility studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 found that redeveloping rather than moving or rebuilding the convention center would be more cost effective while achieving the same goals. Another advantage of not moving the complex is that through careful phasing, both the Convention Center and the Cannon Center will be able to host events throughout construction. Other portions of the city are set to be transformed through major infrastructural improvements in multiple neighborhoods, and TIF districts will be expanded to help pay for the improvements. With work beginning in earnest this year, Memphis will be a changed city by 2019.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Workplace – Interior

2017 Best of Design Awards for Workplace – Interior: Memphis Teacher Residency Architect: archimania Location: Memphis, Tennessee A faith-based nonprofit organization required a space for recruitment, training, and supporting teachers through an urban teacher residency graduate program. Their new space is positioned between a large public central atrium and a more intimate atrium: a recently renovated distribution center. The space is made up of three functions: offices, larger training rooms, and community areas. Wooden space-defining elements were used within the community spaces to encourage gathering. These components act as connective tissue between programmatic zones. At the entry, a sign and a seating detail offer areas for conversation and define the entrance. The client’s distinct use of book icons to express a source of knowledge was also translated into an architectural language and spatial detailing that color and meter the space. "I love the project's light touch—it celebrates the industrial character of the existing building without being too self-conscious." —Eric Bunge, principal, nARCHITECTS (juror) General contractor: Grinder, Taber & Grinder Engineering: OGCB   Honorable Mention  Project Name: RDC-S111 Urban Office Designer: Retail Design Collaborative Location: Long Beach, California A vacant department store became a 34,100-square-foot creative workplace based on the concept of an “urban gallery.” Twenty skylights offer natural daylight and ventilation while reducing artificial lighting needs. A mezzanine wraps the perimeter of the interior space, creating a “bridgewalk” overlook, while a portion of the service dock is transformed into an urban garden.
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Studio Gang envisions the future of Memphis’s Mississippi riverfront

Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects has released an extensive outline envisioning the future of Memphis, Tennessee's Mississippi riverfront. Studio Gang’s Memphis Riverfront Concept is a broad framework spanning six miles of the east bank of the river. Divided into five zones—Fourth Bluff, Mud Island, Tom Lee Park, M.L.K. Park, and Greenbelt Park—the Riverfront Concept is designed to re-link the city’s downtown to the underutilized waterfront. The plan calls for changes, large and small, ranging from new park buildings to major ecological remediation. Many of the changes proposed are meant to build on the things people in Memphis already enjoy about the river. Throughout the design process, Studio Gang worked with the public and the Mayor’s Riverfront Task Force to gauge interest and gain insights into the future role of the river in the city. Based on community suggestions, the plan calls for enhancing views across the river, year-round attractions, additional family spaces, and various bike and pedestrian paths. Picturesque sunsets, barbecue, and the blues—just a few of Memphis's favorite pastimes—were all considered in the plan. For example, Tom Lee Park's new adventure playground and waterfront pavilions aim to be catalysts for the generally quiet park. Currently, the park is primarily programmed for a month-long fair each year. Studio Gang hopes that the Riverfront Concept will make it a year-round destination. The namesake of the park, Tom Lee, is a local African-American hero. Along with the Memphis-based National Civil Rights Museum, the plan proposes a “Civil Rights History Loop.” The riverfront has always been of historical significance to the city. Not only was the riverfront the site of the settlement which eventually became the city, trade along the river was the driving economic force for most of the Memphis's history. The Riverfront Concept hopes to reignite interest in the Mississippi River while reflecting back on its past importance. Among other areas that will see major changes is Mud Island—a peninsula in the river—which has been re-imagined as an Eco Hub. Currently, the area is a cultural center in the city and includes portions of the University of Memphis, as well as the Mississippi River Museum and an outdoor amphitheater. The Riverfront Concept includes learning and research areas, as well as ideas about institutional collaboration. Considering the Mississippi River watershed constitutes nearly 40 percent of the United States surface freshwater, Studio Gang argues that Memphis is an ideal location for freshwater studies. The Memphis Riverfront Concept is meant to be a starting point for much larger changes for the city. Over the past 60 years, Memphis's population has moved further and further east, away from the river. The Riverfront Concept aims to re-center the focus of the city on its historic starting point along the bluffs of the river and provide an expansive shared amenity. To do so, Studio Gang developed three design principles: foster, restore, connect. Each of these principals was constructed through discourse with the public and city officials. The "foster" principle focuses on bringing the public together and encouraging civic pride and appreciation for the river. "Restore" focuses on bringing back native ecological conditions and allowing the public to better understand the river system. The "connect" principle sets goals for bridging the divide between the city and the river, physically and culturally. The entire 140-page Memphis Riverfront Concept is available online for the public to view.
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Fly-through animation reveals Memphis International Airport remodel

New animations and renderings have been released for the multi-phase modernization of the Memphis International Airport (MEM). The new images focus on revitalizing the airport's B Concourse, where eventually all airlines, retail, and food businesses will be consolidated. The initial plans for renovation, which were initiated in 2014, called for the partial modernization and reuse of the existing B Concourse. The latest involves a nearly complete redesign of the entire wing of the airport. A handful of amenities will be added to the concourse, including wider corridors, moving walkways, enlarged and updated boarding areas, and higher ceilings with more natural light. The modernization will also include a much-needed seismic update. The overhaul of the airport also involves altering and removing sections of the A and C concourses to allow for easier aircraft access to the B Concourse. “This is a lengthy, complex process, and it’s crucial that we do it right in order to deliver the best possible airport experience for Memphis travelers,” said Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board of Commissioners in a press release. “We’ve made progress thus far, and more significant changes are on the horizon. These changes are all part of a project that will result in a modern, convenient, state-of-the-art airport for our passengers, airlines, concessionaires, and other partners.” The announcement also included the expansion of the project to a handful of related projects around the airport, including jet bridge construction and electrical upgrades to other concourses to facilitate additional airline operations. The $214 million project is being realized without tapping local public tax funds, though much of the project will be funded by state and federal grants. The remainder of the funding will come from the airport's operating budget and the issuance of revenue bonds. Once complete, most airport operations in the A and C Concourses will be slowly moved into the newly renovated B Concourse. Construction is expected to begin by early 2018 and continue through early 2021. By mid-2021, consolidation will be complete and the end portion of the C Concourse will be removed. The video below flies through the future new and improved B Concourse.
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Memphis moves closer to rejuvenating one of its oldest neighborhoods

In anticipation of its bicentennial in 2019, Memphis, Tennessee is taking big steps to revitalize one of its oldest neighborhoods. The downtown Pinch District was part of the city’s original plan, but for much of the last 40 years it has seen very little development. In fact, since July 2015 there has been a moratorium on new building permits and additional construction to existing buildings in the area. The Pinch District Concept Study has been put together by the city’s Division of Housing and Community Development, the Memphis/Shelby County Office of Planning and Development, and the Downtown Memphis Commission, with architecture and planning being handled by the Memphis office of Looney Ricks Kiss. With a recent unanimous approval by the Land Use Control Board (LUCB), the study is on its way to the Memphis City Council. While in front of the LUCB, a resolution was added to the study to ensure that the master plan would act as an outline for future development rather than a true set of building regulations. If the study is approved by the City Council, the moratorium will likely be lifted, much to the pleasure of current Pinch land owners. The study covers a nine-block area and calls for a diverse set of programs integrated into a mixed-use neighborhood. The proposed neighborhood is based on four main principles: "history/character," "connected," "mixed-use," and "walkable neighborhood." Pedestrian friendly streets, intersections, and green spaces are an important part of the plan. Additional connections to the Mississippi River, which runs just west of the site, and to the rest of the downtown under the I-40 expressway are also highlighted in the study. While the neighborhood is decidedly underdeveloped, considering its location's history, one major recent development looms over the Pinch. The Pyramid Arena, built in 1991, sits between the neighborhood and the water. When it was built, it was imagined that the area would be transformed into an entertainment district. After multiple attempts and failed plans through the late 1990s, the push was mostly abandoned. Originally it was used as a 20,142-seat sporting venue for the University of Memphis men’s basketball, as well as the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. Eventually, a new stadium built on the south side of the downtown left the Pyramid vacant. In 2015 the Pyramid reopened as a Bass Pro Shops megastore and hotel. It should be noted that Memphis is the second Memphis, after the ancient Egyptian city, so the pyramid sort of makes sense. The Pinch itself was one of the first landing places for numerous immigrant populations including Irish, Italian, Russian, Greek, and Jewish communities. The name Pinch comes from the nickname of "Pinch-Gut" given to the area as a derogatory reference to the starving emaciated Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine of the mid-1800s. While the new vision of the Pinch still has a long way to go before being realized, it would seem the area may be entering a new era in its long history.
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Tennessee startup plans to 3D print house

Tennessee-based Branch Technology has announced it will begin construction of a 3D-printed house in 2017. Designed by Honolulu-based WATG, the project was initiated for the Freeform Home Design Challenge, which asked participants to design for Branch’s Cellular Fabrication (C-Fab) 3D printing technology. The small house designs were required to be between 600 and 800 square feet. Branch’s C-Fab technology involves 3D printing carbon-fiber-reinforced ABS plastic with a large robotic arm. The resulting formwork can then be covered in more traditional building materials, such as concrete or foam. Instead of the typical completely 3D printed additive technique, C-Fab uses an algorithm to formulate an interior framework for the structure. WATG’s design, entitled Curve Appeal, will be built at Branch Technology’s lab in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The house is comprised of a curving shell around an open plan. The form of the building also provides a car port. The interior of the house is divided up with class walls and a solid core.

CURVE APPEAL by dcaven on Sketchfab

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The long history of a tall sidewalk: How elevated skywalks have failed cities in the United States

Skywalks, or elevated sidewalks, continually resurface as an urban solution to alleviate pedestrian traffic, provide additional retail space, and offer a safe alternative to sharing space with automobiles. However, each time a skywalk is actually realized, problems abound. The original elevated sidewalks are in Chester, England, and are believed to have been built in at least one iteration in the 13th century. Historians are unsure if the elevated sidewalks were implemented for retail opportunities or as flooding precaution, or both. Protected as a heritage site today, the Chester Rows inspired several master plans in the United States, particularly at the turn of the 20th century. In 1913, Scientific American published “The Elevated Sidewalk: How it Will Solve City Transportation Problems,” which made the logical claim that humans and cars shouldn’t be in the same place. Imposing traffic regulations would slow cars down, and having people and cars sharing the streets is dangerous. The proposal was to make Manhattan a “city of bridges” with pedestrians moving safely above ground while cars sped underneath. Yet this never happened in lieu of the signs and traffic regulations we use today. In the '60s, the idea of the elevated sidewalk resurged in nearly two dozen towns, including rather unlikely places such as Cincinnati, Ohio, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Morristown, Tennessee. The Minneapolis Skyway system was built in 1962 and had the added benefit of providing a climate-controlled path through the city in intense weather. For that same reason, St. Paul also implemented a similar Skyway. However, the pros are offset by some solid drawbacks—property disputes mean that it is often confusing as to who is responsible for maintaining the skywalks and a lack of commercial real estate along the walkways renders them desolate and perceived by the public as dangerous and crime-filled. Poor planning means that the sidewalks can be confusing and require maps; one example in particular is the “skyway to nowhere” on Wabasha Street in Minneapolis, which doesn’t connect to anything at all. Inspired by Minneapolis, the city of Cincinnati created its own robust skywalk system that opened in 1971 to help downtown retailers compete with enclosed malls and make it easier to navigate the downtown area. More segments were added well through the '90s, and for awhile, appear to be used quite regularly. But by 2002, the skywalks were falling into disrepair and the city’s “2002 Center City Plan” found that they actually were causing downtown economic activity to decline. The plan reported that when pedestrians bypassed the street, it made the downtown look abandoned and thus, a less desirable place to linger and spend money. In 2005, then-mayor Charlie Luken told The New York Times that the Skywalk is "ugly" and the space underneath is "yucky." The skyway is slowly being dismantled one chunk at a time. Morristown is particularly fraught over its elevated skywalk system, called the SkyMart, that was built in 1962 after the downtown was flooded and the commercial district was nearly wiped out. As was commonly the case around the country, the walkway system did not succeed in competing with malls, proved to be expensive to maintain, and, overall, did not live up to the expectations of the civic leaders. In one camp, supporters believe it is unique to the city and a “national treasure.” The other side deems it to be a hindrance to progress, unnecessarily expensive, and underused. It was submitted to the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1990s, but it was denied. Recently, the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance posted an article on Facebook in support of the SkyMart. Comments in response offer insight into the local’s perspective. “Oh, are there businesses on the second level?” asked a commenter. “Yes! Downtown Crossroads Association’s office is on the skywalk,” responded another. “One?” the original commenter replied. There was no response. This seems to be the wide sweeping problem in all cities with elevated skywalks. Instead of bustling hubs of commerce and safe, weather-protected passageways through cities, they are deserted, confusing, and/or dangerous. Similar issues arise in tunnel systems built in cities like Dallas and Houston. "It was the worst urban planning decision that Dallas has ever made. They thought it was hip and groovy to create an underground community, but it was a death knell," Dallas Mayor Laura Miller told The New York Times in 2005. It’s a little unclear to us why this seems to be the case over and over again. Successful skywalks exist in Hong Kong, Copenhagen recently installed a popular bike skyway, and Mumbai is currently building out its skywalk system that, while controversial, is actively being used. Population density of American cities versus Asian or European cities or simple human preferences of habit could contribute to their failure. Let AN know: Why do you think skywalks have been unsuccessful? Alternatively, if you know of a successful skywalk, tell us about it in the comments below.
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Not a car in the world: Nashville neighborhood abstains from use of cars for a whole week

While major cities in Europe and across the world are experimenting with the car-free lifestyle, the American South is not likely on anyone's radar as the next to embrace the trend. A neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, however, has promised to not use cars for an entire week, leaving them at home as part of the "Don't Car Campaign."

Having started on September 19, 30 participants will go carless until the 25th. “Parking has been a big issue here,” said Jamie Brown, a member of the Nations Neighborhood Association (NNA) board speaking to the Nashville Business Journal. “The residential density is getting higher. One [house] goes down and two or three go up,” she said. “Now we’re starting to see condominium and apartment units." Elaborating on the parking difficulties in the area Brown went on to say: “We’re worried about how [new development] is going to affect our overflow parking in the street. We don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood. The developers keep telling us this is a walkable neighborhood, saying it’s close to downtown. … We wanted to test that concept.” The NNA campaign to go car-less highlights the outdated transit system currently in place, adjudged by the Nashville MTA as insufficient for the growing local population. The city, according to the Nashville Business Journal, is fortunate in that it is walkable and pedestrian-friendly with plenty of bike lanes. Abstaining from car usage then shouldn't be that much of an issue. “People in other neighborhoods have reached out and told us this is a great idea,” Brown said. “We hope the campaign could be done by other neighborhoods.” The team of 30 who will record and document their experiences seeks to be a leading example of how a population can get by without being dependent on cars. They also want people to start seeing how capable their transportation infrastructure really is.
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Nashville breaks ground on Bridgestone’s 30-story tower in downtown SoBro district

Nashville, long known more as a mecca for Country Music than a development hotspot, is enjoying a downtown resurgence. Projects like Music City Center and the redevelopment of the Tennessee capital's convention center are forging a new urban character for Nashville. The latest example is a new office tower that will stand among the city's tallest buildings. Work began last week on the $232.6 million, Perkins + Will–designed headquarters for Bridgestone Americas. The tire company is one of the largest private employers in downtown Nashville. Their move from existing offices near the airport brings 1,700 employees—600 of whom currently work out of state at facilities in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and Carmel, Indiana—into downtown Nashville's SoBro district. Named for its location south of Broadway, SoBro has seen rapid development in recent years, including tvsdesign's Music City Center—a 2.1-million-square-foot convention center with a wavy roof meant to evoke the rolling hills of Tennessee. The move also comes with a public sector price tag. Bridgestone's move qualifies for tens of millions of dollars in city and state tax incentives, as reported in the Tennesseean:
The transaction is contingent on $50 million in Metro incentives and an undisclosed package from the state that, according to sources familiar with the deal, is comparable to the city's commitment.
At 30 stories the new tower would be among the city's tallest buildings. The last office tower built in Nashville was the Pinnacle at Symphony Center—a 29-story, LEED Gold building designed by Pickard Chilton and Everton Oglesby Architects that opened in 2010. Due in mid-to-late 2017, the new 514,000 square foot building will feature four parallel planes reaching up from a sleek, glassy facade.
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How the Koch brothers helped stop Nashville’s plan for Bus Rapid Transit

The plan to build Nashville’s first-ever bus rapid transit (BRT) system is dead and the billionaire Koch Brothers helped kill it. The Tennessean is reporting that after months of controversy, the city has ceased all planning efforts for the Amp, a 7-mile BRT system that would have connected Nashville’s neighborhoods and given the city one of its first major pieces of smart mass-transit policy. Like many major public transit projects, the Amp had its detractors from the beginning. In Nashville, a local auto mogul, limousine company owner, and attorney joined forces to form “Stop Amp”–a group dedicated to pressuring the city into pulling the plug on the plan. That coalition was reinforced by Republican lawmakers and, yes, the Koch brothers. In March, the Tennessean reported that the state chapter of the brothers’ right-wing political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) helped create a bill that would “make it illegal for buses to pick up or drop off passengers in the center lane of a state road.” It was a thinly veiled attempt at killing the Amp outright. AFP’s Tennessee director, Andrew Ogles, told the newspaper that the Kochs’ organization didn’t funnel money toward the cause; rather, “the [anti-Amp] bill grew out of a conversation he had had with Senator Jim Tracy, the sponsor.” A compromise bill that was pushed by the mayor softened that language and allowed the plan to move forward. But still, the plan to give Nashville its first bus rapid transit system failed. With the Amp dead, city officials say they will be looking for new “transit solutions” for Nashville.                  
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The Music City’s New Urbanism: The Nine Projects Leading Nashville’s Transformation

For many, architecture isn't the first thing that comes to mind when considering Nashville—it's called the Music City for a reason. But there is more to Nashville than country songs, barbecue ribs, and the eponymous show on ABC. In recent years, the city of 600,000 has become a regional leader in smart urban design and distinctive architecture. New riverfront parks are transforming Nashville's connection to the Cumberland River, bikeshare docks have appeared around downtown, bus rapid transit is in the works, and the city's tallest tower is set to rise. And that's just the start of it. Take a look at the city's dramatic transformation and a peek at where it's headed. Music City Center One of the most significant new works in Nashville is Music City Center—a 2.1-million-square-foot convention center, which the mayor’s office called “Nashville’s  beacon of momentum.” The center is the work of tvsdesign, Moody Nolan, and Tuck Hilton Architects, and is as sprawling as it is striking. The structure is covered with an undulating roof that is meant to evoke the rolling hills of Tennessee. Below that curvy topper is a primarily glass facade and prominent, idiosyncratic, paneled forms that pull the building out of its own skin. The $585 million convention center also includes a public art collection and a 6,000-seat ballroom. “The defining character of Music City Center is how design—from large scale moves to the smallest detail—can tame an immense structure,” said tvsdesign in a statement. “The building communicates warmth, intimacy and an attention to detail that belies its 2 million square feet and reflects the distinct character of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.” Nashville Convention Center Redevelopment With the shiny new Music City Center open, Nashville’s existing convention center is no longer needed, so out with the old and in with the new. The city has proposed replacing the existing structure with a one-million-square-foot, mixed-use development. By the numbers, the project includes 840,000 square feet of office space, a 673-room Nashville Renaissance Hotel, 244,000 square feet of retail, and 50,000 square feet for the National Museum of African American Music. Gresham, Smith & Partners is designing the project, but, according to the mayor’s office, its “scope and design elements will be refined in 2014 through community input.”  The latest renderings show a multi-story retail base with glass towers above. NACTO Street Design In June, the Tennessee Department of Transportation became the first southern state to endorse the National Association of City Transportation Officials’  “Urban Street Design Guide,” which serves as a blueprint for safe, multi-modal streets. This campaign was launched in October by then–New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan who was serving as NACTO’s president at the time. “The Tennessee DOT endorsement of the Urban Street Design Guide is part of an exciting movement among states,” said Linda Bailey, NACTO’s Executive Director, in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with Tennessee and other states to build economically vital, safe and inviting streets going forward.” What does this mean for Nashville, specifically? That’s hard to tell right now, but it underscores the state’s commitment to public transit and safe streets in a region known for its car culture. The AMP, Nashville's Proposed BRT  In 2016, Nashville could have its very own, world-class bus rapid transit system that cuts through the city's urban core. Plans for the 7.1-mile system, known as the AMP, have been in the works for a few years and initially included dedicated center lanes and medians for quick boarding. As these things go, the project received some strong public backlash and was almost entirely derailed by a conservative state legislature, with a little help from the Koch Brothers. In March, the Tennessean reported that the billionaires' Americans for Prosperity group helped the state Senate pass a bill to block the $174 million project. But the AMP isn't dead just yet. The final design details of the project are currently being hammered out and construction could start as early as next year. While it’s not entirely clear what the AMP will look like, Ed Cole, the executive director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, is optimistic about this project and Nashville’s transit future overall. “The principles behind new urbanism are clearly part of our future here,” he said. 505 Church Street Adrian Smith—the man behind such projects as “the tallest building in the world”—has now designed what would be the tallest building in Tennessee. While not Burj Khalifa height, the tower proposed for 505 Church Street, which is designed by Smith’s firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, climbs its way up to 750 feet. Last August, AN reported on Smith and Gill’s plans for the site, which called for a mixed-use tower that gently bends and twists its way to LEED Platinum designation. That scheme has since been scrapped, but Smith and Gill have released an alternate design for a glassy, residential high-rise. Since a portion of the site was sold to the city for a parking garage, the firm created a more slender tower, which has balconies and horizontal louvers etched across its exterior. “The tower’s shape is based on a parallelogram which has been softened at the corners to maximize river views to the South and East,” said Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill in a statement. “The curved corners minimize the tower’s true East and West facades in an effort to reduce harsh East and West solar exposures.” The project’s developer, Tony Giarratana, told AN that the tower should get underway once the garage is completed some time next year. That puts 505 Church's opening somewhere around late 2018 or early 2019. Virgin Hotel While Sir Richard Branson is all about space travel these days, the knighted billionaire isn’t done with earth just yet. In April, Virgin Hotels announced plans to open its third outpost at One Music Row in Nashville in 2016. There are no renderings for the project just yet, but it is expected to include 240 rooms, a recording studio, and, according to a press release, “multiple concept suites, food and beverage outlets.” In a statement Branson said, “Nashville's time is now, and we want to be part of that excitement. We hope our first venture in Nashville will open the doors for more Virgin opportunities and more global travelers to enjoy Nashville's southern hospitality.” Nashville B-cyle Bikeshare In late 2012, Nashville fell to peer pressure and did what all the top cities are doing these days: It launched a bikeshare program. The 23-station system is known as B-cycle and, according to the program’s website, is an “absolutely stylin’ way to get around town.” Hear that? Absolutely stylin'. Peddle forth Nashvillians, peddle forth. Ryman Lofts In 2013, Nashville opened the colorful Ryman Lofts—the city’s first subsidized housing designed for working artists. According to the mayor’s office “the idea for Ryman Lofts grew from the Music City Music Council, which recognized that making quality affordable urban housing available to emerging artists can spur small business development, reduce transportation demands and help nurture the city’s creative workforce.” The project was designed by Smith Gee Studio, which bookended the primarily, brick-clad structure with bright, colorful panels that frame—and climb on top of—the main facade. Riverfront Amphitheater By this time next year, the good people of Nashville should have another venue to get their country music fix. Construction is currently underway on a 35,000-square-foot amphitheater right alongside the Cumberland River. The structure, and accompanying green space, is designed by Hawkins Partners with Hodgetts + Fung and Smith Gee Studio, and is intended to resemble the Cumberland's limestone cliffs. According to a press release from Mayor Karl Dean's office, "the amphitheater will accommodate up to 6,500 people with semi-fixed seating for 2,200, a 300-person greenway pavilion, and 4,000 lawn seats—all within a natural bowl providing optimal lines of sight to the stage and downtown." The amphitheater anchors the the new 12-acre West Riverfront Park, which replaces the city's old thermal transfer plant. The new space includes, greenways, gardens, a playground, and a dog park.