A recently released schematic drawing shows the south face of the proposed Omni Hotel at the site of the new downtown convention center contradicting city guidelines — at least in spirit — with what appears to be a large motor court dominating the street level of the side of the hotel on Korean Veterans Boulevard.
Based on the drawing, dated Oct. 7 and completed by design firm HKS (which Omni often enlists for architectural work), about two-thirds of that side of the hotel is designed to accommodate motorists.
“The designs are preliminary and still very much a work in progress,” said Caryn Kboudi, Omni spokeswoman.
Kboudi said she didn’t know whether HKS is familiarizing itself with the design guidelines. An HKS representative declined to comment.
During the past few years, architectural firm EOA, the Nashville Civic Design Center, the Metro Development and Housing Agency and the Metro Planning Department have conducted studies recommending (and, in some cases, requiring) that buildings
addressing Korean Veterans Boulevard be constructed up to the sidewalk, with minimal curb cuts to diminish pedestrians interacting with motorists.
Joe Cain, MDHA development director, said the agency has yet to receive specific plans from Omni. But he said the lack of communication is not worrisome given the preliminary nature of the effort.
“We look forward to meeting with [Omni] and making sure they understand what the city wants,” Cain said.
Cain said the size of the Omni Hotel — 800 rooms, about 260 feet tall and fronting KVB and Fourth and Fifth avenues — would present design challenges.
“There will be a parking structure somewhere [within the building], so all these things have to fit together,” he said. “Obviously, cars have to be able to get to the hotel.”
Omni and HKS are scheduled to present the next set of designs in mid-November.
Janel Lacy, spokeswoman for Mayor Karl Dean, said her office is in “regular communication” with Omni but was uncertain about specific discussions regarding how the hotel will address KVB.