Mixed-use development has exploded in Nashville and our surrounding communities in recent years. It seems like every week there is a new article about the next development to break ground. The growing demand has also created new challenges when it comes to designing, building, or renovating a mixed-used development in Nashville. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is essential for developers who want to create projects that are both successful and beneficial to the city.
As a local contractor with 90 years of experience, we’ve had the opportunity to work on dozens of memorable mixed-use projects across our city. In this article, we wanted to expand on the important principles that every developer should know about building in Nashville by highlighting some keys to success for mixed-use construction projects.
5 Keys to Mixed-Use Construction Projects in Nashville
1. Identify and Address Potential Issues with Comprehensive Planning
Thorough planning is essential to ensure a successful mixed-use development. This planning could include analyzing the site conditions, providing adequate infrastructure, and creating an overarching scope and budget on the front end. We believe in getting involved early to set a project up for success before construction begins. Our approach to preconstruction is critical for avoiding issues and maximizing the value of a project for our clients.
Project Example: The Aerston — Pinpoint accuracy is essential when building an 840,000 sq. ft. project bordered by a restaurant less than 24 inches away. During pre-construction, our team identified a variety of solutions to minimize construction inconvenience to neighbors, keep the project progressing, and maximize value for our client.
2. Understand Recent Zoning and Regulatory Compliance Standards
It’s essential to understand Nashville’s building code and zoning requirements for any commercial development. This is especially true for mixed-use projects in Nashville, as city officials set new regulations and standards to ensure the safety and quality of buildings.
3. Implement a Proactive Community Engagement Plan
Mixed-use developments are often met with mixed reactions, especially from neighboring businesses. There’s a lot of fear about how the project could impact their business and frustration about working next to an active job site. It’s important for mixed-use developers to recognize the importance of being a good neighbor. Contractors must be proactive and intentional in how they engage neighboring businesses.
Project Example: Hill Center Belle Meade — Working with Nashville-based developers and designers, everyone involved in this project wanted to make a positive impression and impact on neighboring businesses. Intentional planning and ongoing communication to make sure construction did not disrupt operations for a nearby restaurant.
4. Consider Sustainability Before You Build
We are intentional about helping clients create more value in each commercial development project we take on. That could include anything from considering how the surrounding area will develop over the next decade to embracing technology integration and incorporating sustainable construction practices. Taking the long view is one of the best ways to maximize the long-term return on investment for mixed-use development.
Project Example: CityPark in Brentwood — When our client decided to convert an automobile-dominated office park into a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use development, it was one of the first new developments along busy Franklin Road. Our client recognized the need to invest in new pedestrian-friendly streets to improve walkability. This decision made a tremendous difference, as the surrounding area has seen a significant increase in new development.
5. Address Structural or Environmental Factors that May Impact Your Project
When working in an urban setting, it’s important to recognize how existing structures or environmental factors could impact your project. The last thing you want is for a project to be delayed or derailed because you didn’t know about a water pipe. This is another area where our pre-construction team can showcase their expertise. By getting involved early in the process, we can work with all the stakeholders to identify creative solutions to potential obstacles.
Project Example: 1st and Main in Franklin — Sited on two acres adjacent to the Harpeth River, 1st and Main was built on a micropile foundation system, which allows water to flow as needed across the property. The 131-space surface parking lot consists of permeable pavers.
Work with a Team of Local, Experienced Professionals
Developing a mixed-use project in an urban setting can be a complex undertaking. Therefore, it is important to work with a team of experienced professionals who can help to navigate the regulatory process and manage construction.
Partnering with a local construction company in Nashville can make a tremendous difference in the overall outcome of a project. Our proven experience and commitment to going above and beyond for our clients are just two reasons that General Contractors Magazine recognized us as one of Nashville’s Best Mixed-Use Contractors.