Planned look of 12th & Paris branching out from Cypress

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 3:04am
Work is set to begin in August on Core Development’s 12th & Paris, which is being designed to complement 12South buildings. Rendering courtesy of DA|AD

OK, a quick question for all of you reading this column. Where is the Cypress Building located?

If you know the answer, it’s likely because you’ve been buying guitar strings at Corner Music, walking your hyperactive hound at Sevier Park or buying your sweetie fragrant roses at Granny’s Flower Shop.

Or, of course, you may know simply because you believe that memorizing the names of Nashville’s buildings could be helpful in your effort to impress a potential employer or romantic interest. (You know who you are, so don’t deny it.)

OK, next question. Why is the Cypress Building an important 12South structure? And, don’t say it’s because you love the tasty popsicles at Las Paletas.

Ah, may have stumped you with that one.

To respond, you could contend the quirky Cy Building is a strong example of 1960s-era architecture. Or that it has a certain historical significance, having long anchored the south “entrance” to 12South long before Metro Development and Housing Authority, urban hipsters and real estate types got their hands on the district.

Regardless, the building adds to the almost oddball architectural flavor that helps define 12South as a distinctively Nashville place.

Aaron White understands this. Welcomes this. Stresses this.

“What makes 12South cool is the diversity of the buildings,” he notes.

On this theme, the 12th & Paris building that White’s Core Development plans to build will not only contrast — almost wildly, mind you — with the colorful Cypress. It will also provide a cohesive physical relationship.

Core’s favored architectural team, the talented folks at DA|AD, are designing 12th & Paris to provide, as White says, “a good connection to the Cypress Building via a sidewalk from our building to the second level of the Cypress.”

Now in today’s development business — one often marked by companies that view as afterthoughts those buildings adjoining their creations — White’s approach is refreshing.

Core and DA|AD are designing 12th & Paris to offer primarily a two-story presence, with a step-backed third story featuring some residential space and a terrace. The design will allow the structure to both, White says, “play off” the purple-bricked Paris Building across the street and avoid vertically overwhelming Mr. Cypress for those walking, biking or motoring north along 12th and next to Sevier Park.

Slated for groundbreaking in August (two nondescript structures will be demolished) and to be completed one year later, 12th & Paris will offer 13 rental apartments, two small retail spaces, a restaurant, two commercial studio condos and six residential condo units. The overall cost: $6 million.

Asked if Core considered an attempt to purchase the Cypress and raze it, thus creating space for a larger development, White responds without hesitation.

“We are not the kind of company that would tear down the Cypress Building.”

12South thanks you.

Kudos to Knestrick

Local developer Knestrick Companies has delivered some attractive finishing touches on the front exterior of its Lofts on Eighth project in the Antique District. Lush landscaping conceals a sturdy, yet handsome and dignified gate while a pedestrian friendly ground sign adds a tasteful decorative flourish. Quality work.

William Williams is a citizen observer of Nashville’s manmade environment. Contact him at

Filed under: City Business