The Tennessean to sell downtown offices in prime spot

A sizable chunk of hot new real estate is about to open up downtown.  The Tennessean has announced that they’re putting their North Gulch office and printing operation up for sale.

The 10 acres in three separate lots that the newspaper’s parent company owns in the area could be worth $87 million, land broker Fred Kane estimates.  In a piece of journalism in which they report on themselves, The Tennessean notes that there are two other high-profile developments going on near them: the Lifeway campus (which they sold already but still occupy) and the development next to I-40 that will be anchored by a Whole Foods store.  Like Lifeway, The Tennessean is seeking a sale in which they will continue to lease the property from the new owners for up to 1.5 years while they get their new digs ready.

The newspaper hopes to find a new location downtown for its reporting and business operations, while it’s seeking some cheaper real estate in the suburbs for its printing presses.

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It’s Restaurant Week

This one almost slipped by me, but today is the beginning of Restaurant Week here in Nashville.  This time around (it happens twice a year), there are 43 independently-owned restaurants participating.

They’ll have special items on the menu or special deals for patrons.  Many of the full meals are $20.16 for one meal (or the same price for two people, depending on the restaurant).  Visit Nashville Originals’ page to see the deals different spots are offering.

I’m hoping to get out and try a range of different restaurants, from the cheap (Elliston Place Soda Shop) to the less cheap (Holland House).

This year’s winter Restaurant Week got snowed out by that big winter storm that shut down the area for a few days.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this week.  On the plus side, they did extend Restaurant Week by an extra week that time.

Earlier: Restaurant Week is ComingRestaurant Two Weeks

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MNPS’ transportation woes continue, this time with MTA bus passes

A lot of high schoolers at Metro Nashville Public Schools are having trouble getting their free MTA bus pass this school year, The Tennessean is reporting.  Through the city’s StrIDe program, public high school students in the county can use their school ID badges as bus passes.  But with the switchover to a new student information platform this year, a lot of students are having trouble getting those badges.

On top of those problems, many students (of all ages) in the system aren’t assigned to a regular school bus route yet — because of the adoption problems with the same computer system.

Earlier: Some MNPS students don’t have a bus route, even though the school year has already started

On the plus side, the school system’s spokesman says they’re on track to issue those ID cards a month earlier than last year:

Many students who attend an out-of-zone school, such as magnet school students, depend on MTA buses to get to school on a daily basis.  Joe Bass said that some students are being given temporary MTA passes to tide them over till the problem is resolved.  They expect all students to be issued school IDs by August 26.

Meanwhile, all of the school bus routing issues should have been resolved by August 13, the district reports.

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Up to 30 vehicles involved in rainy crash on I-24

Between 20 and 30 vehicles (depending on the source) were involved in a multiple crashes around the same time today.  The crashes all happened on the westbound side of I-24 near Harding Pl.

All of the lanes were closed for a time.  The crash scenes were all cleared around 5 PM.

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Mayor Barry as a model for other Southern mayors

The Economist covered Nashville this week.  More specifically, they covered Mayor Barry’s first year in office and how the city’s and state’s left and right political cohorts clash:

Her experiences suggest a possible strategy for Democrats elsewhere, as well as the frictions they may experience.  One has been with the Republican supermajorities in the Tennessee capitol, around the corner from her office—part of a widening stand-off between left-leaning southern mayors and conservative legislatures. In 2011 Nashville was involved in an early tussle over protections for gay and transgender people; this year a state bathroom bill like the one that ignited controversy in North Carolina failed, but a measure letting counsellors turn away patients on the grounds of “sincerely held principles” was passed. That cost Nashville at least three convention bookings, Mayor Barry laments, gently noting that the state relies on the city’s success, too. There have been disagreements over guns in parks (which the city was forced to allow last year), a putative rise in the minimum wage (nixed) and a plan to reserve 40% of work on big public projects for locals (ditto).

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It’s college move-in weekend, so avoid the congestion

A lot of Nashville universities are holding their move-ins this weekend.  And that means, well, general pandemonium:

The move-in schedules of different colleges vary, but the sweet spot is tomorrow.  Belmont students move in August 19 and 20, while most Vanderbilt students can move in August 20.  Upperclassmen at Lipscomb are moving in August 20 and 21 (but freshmen already moved in on August 14).

Other colleges were gracious enough to spread out their move-in events throughout the month.  TSU students moved in August 17 (freshmen) and 18 (other students), Fisk students arrived August 6-7, and Trevecca Nazarene will hold its move-in day on August 26.

Just a search of Twitter reveals a number of students (and parents) getting hyped about the move: Savannah Potts, Taylor Thompson, Sara Pontier, Jimmy Finnerty, Matt Combes, and Higglesworth.


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MTA and RTA aim to increase ridership 430% with ambitious nMotion plan

This morning, MTA’s strategic plan was released to the public, and it is ambitious.  The plan covers a span of 25 years and includes the development of light rail and additional commuter rail, in addition to much better bus service.

In the shorter term, though, the plan will make incremental improvements.  Over the next five years, nMotion’s plan hopes to increase the frequency and service hours of existing service of existing routes while adding more crosstown routes.  They’d also like to make some of the routes traveling into downtown continue on to the other side of town — in essence, just combining routes that run on opposite sides of the city center.  There are also plans to improve fare payment, which I wrote about earlier, and the agency would like to improve service for AccessRide customers.

Regionally, the nMotion planners intend to create better bus service to the suburbs.  They would like to adopt bus-on-shoulder travel, dedicated bus lanes, and more trips.

Within about 15 years, the nMotion plan states that ground should be broken on light rail projects.  They also expect that by then they will be able to provide quick service through downtown, where buses currently average just 6 MPH during afternoon rush hour.

Over the next several days, we’ll go into more detail on specific recommendations of the plan.  If you just can’t wait, though, you can read the whole thing for yourself at the nMotion website.

Earlier: New Ideas for Transit: Right Now

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