Rundown East Nashville building to get new life

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 1:11am

A building once slated to be the home of a major East Nashville mixed-use development is on course for a new future.

800 Main St., the four-decade-old former home of a Bank of America processing center, has been vacant for years and a recently pulled building permit described it as “severely vandalized and infested with vagrants.”

Nashville-based Double A Development said in 2008 it had plans to build a 300-unit apartment complex with 25,000 square feet of retail space on the site. But Adam Leibowitz, a Double A principal, said Thursday the recession forced a change of plans and now permits have been pulled to gut the building, a step toward its new use as commercial and office space.

He said it was disappointing not to follow the original plans, but he thinks the conversion of the building will be a jolt to the area nonetheless.

“It was a matter of the unfortunate economic conditions,” he said. “These larger-scale projects were not feasible. But, we are sitting on 110,000 square feet. Why tear that down to build a major multi-family project when there’s an adaptive reuse,” he said. “If we can breathe life into the building, it’ll breathe life into the area.”

Leibowitz said there’s no strict timeline to have work completed, but he decided to move forward with the gutting because he’s getting “more and more” calls about leasing space inside.

Rumors in East Nashville are that a Piggly Wiggly grocery store will occupy the space, but Leibowitz said he is “unaware of any interest from Piggly Wiggly.”

“We are just rehabbing the existing building. It’s in phenomenal shape. It has the structural integrity of a parking tower,” he said.

As new businesses and residents have moved into East Nashville, Main Street and Gallatin Road have been frequently cited as corridors of possibility.

Kenny Byrd, president of the Historic Edgefield Neighborhood Association, said Main Street can become an “amazing gateway” for the city.

“Main Street needs to transform, we all agree with that,” he said, adding that it’s important the right kind of development come to the area.

“Something there is better than nothing."

10 Comments on this post:

By: nvestnbna on 12/18/09 at 7:22

Excellent to see something happening on this property. Good for Main Street.

By: tomw on 12/18/09 at 7:33

I'm really glad to to see adaptive re-use as a viable option to a teardown and potentially empty lot. We need to look more carefully at the resources we have here in Nashville and become a capitol of creative thinking in how we see our city progressing architecturally , socially and economically.

By: frank brown on 12/18/09 at 8:22

This would be an excellent location for Obama to distribute working peoples money to the underclass.

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/18/09 at 9:39

Frank, Frank, Frank, Have you been under a rock? Obama distributes working peoples money to the CORPORATE ELITE, just as GW did before him. The underclass? Puleeeeze.

I agree with the other commenters. It's nice to see private investment in this economy, and I also agree that mainstreet holds a ton of potential.

By: anniem on 12/18/09 at 1:37

This was a terrific building - I worked there from 1989 - 1998, and it's certainly solid. A branch was on the first floor and there was a huge vault. There was also a cafeteria on the first floor, as was the CD department and the mail room. The basement was used for reconciliation, the top floor was used for fraud control and research, the second floor was used for check processing, statement rendering and computer processing.
It's a solid concrete building with an elevator. The tornado (of '96 or '98?) hit the corner of it and only cracked a few bricks. I'd sure like to see it reused for a good purpose.


By: frank brown on 12/18/09 at 3:10

Walter Sobchak......Not to be argumenative because you do have a point,but I consider myself among the corporate top enders and there is and will not be a distribution for me. I think you should have said Obama and GW distributited the working peoples money to the Wall Street financial bankers. I do not remember GW distributing any working peoples money to the underclass, I can certainly see that Obama has been a serious distributor of the working peoples money to underclass. It appears to me and I think that my degree in economics should at least qualify me for an opinion that Obama has given and wants to continue giving money to what I consider to be underclass. Perhaps I should be a little more specific and say the worthless class.

By: NewYorker1 on 12/18/09 at 4:54

I absolutely hate that Obama wanted that job. He could have made just as much, if not more, money being an attorney for a prestigious law firm. Why in the world would he want to work as hard as he is working to get this country off life support and get the crap that he is getting. I truly feel sorry for him and hope that he decides to not run for a second term so that he and his family can enjoy the peaceful life they so deserve. Americans do NOT deserve him at all. The ungrateful unappreciative assholes in this country gets on my god-damn nerves.

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/19/09 at 7:49

Frank- If you're referring to entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid then you have a point, but I wouldn't consider that re-distribution. Given the fact that family Welfare only represents around 2% of the Federal Budget, that's also not significant. CERTAIN Wall Sreet Bankers (Goldman Sachs is the devil) certainly have, and will continue to be subsidized by our Federal Government, but that's not the whole pie. My biggest problem with Obama isn't the paltry downstream spending, it's the continuation of Big Money Bush policies such as Subsidizing the monopolies owned by Big Pharma, MCO's, Big Oil, the expansion of the war effort ($1billion/month), and The Auto makers debacle etc. It doesn't matter which party is in office. They are the same. Special interests have been the real policy makers for years, and that's not changing any time soon.

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/19/09 at 7:58

Also Frank- I'm a top-ender as well, but that doesn't make either of us The Corporate Elite. I'm not sure that title applies to a single resident of this town. HCA is the only major player here, and hospital companies have been at odds with MCOs for years., due in large part to the fact that MCO's continue to receive federal subsidies.

By: frank brown on 12/19/09 at 9:22

Walter ---------WE are 100% in agreement when it comes to Goldman-Sachs. We are closer in political views than I first thought. I would guess that our basic disagreement is how Obama is interfacing with Wall Street and the underclass. I am in favor of bringing forward the working class. We would probably have to each define underclass and welfare subsidies for this exchange to go forward.

Obama obviously has learned that Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street charlatans are a bigger stick than he realized. His actions to placate these people and the underclass only infuriate many of us in the central class. They are both villians to the future of this country.