Nashvillians turn out for a car-free 12th Ave S

On a warm Sunday afternoon, the citizens took over the street again, reclaiming it from the cars.  The police blocked off a 2.3-mile stretch of 12th Ave S — from 11th Ave S in the Gulch to Kirkwood Ave in 12 South — for Nashvillians to enjoy the street by foot, bicycle, skates, unicycle, pogo stick, and more on October 30.

Community organizations turned out to set up displays and games, such as this giant Jenga:

dsc_0247.jpgAnd this giant map of Nashville, showing where (and how) people had come from to get to the open street:

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In 12 South, folks ambled along the street, enjoying the sunshine:

And then there was this guy, who converted his bike into a TIE fighter:

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The parade started early in the afternoon at Halycon Bike Shop, and yes, they had pumpkin spice this-and-that:

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There was even dancing in the streets, ’cause, hey, no cars:

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Clement Landport dealt final death blow

Earlier this week, Mayor Barry announced that she had inked a preliminary deal to sell the Clement Landport, an ill-fated transit project in SoBro.

The site of the landport, adjacent to Demonbreun St, Cummins Station, and CSX railroad tracks, will be sold to the owner of Cummins Station.  The land deal is just one part of a bigger agreement to create the necessary easements for a new pedestrian bridge over the tracks and to provide a capital infusion to the MTA.

The land was originally acquired by the MTA in 1995 with some help from then-Congressman Bob Clement.  They had grand plans for it: a multi-modal transit station, with bus bays, commuter rail (from the adjacent CSX tracks), light rail connections, and car parking were all part of the scheme.  Only two of those things ever came to that site (busses and cars), and only one of them really ever did well there (the cars).  The CSX tracks were too busy with freight traffic to accommodate any passenger trains, and Nashville is yet to see any light rail (at least, since it was torn up some decades ago).

In 1998, MTA opened the structure at Clement Landport.  The top level, which connected to the old Demonbreun St bridge, included bus bays, a ticket office, and a waiting shelter.  Ramps led down below to parking.  At one time, up to 15 different routes utilized the station.  But when, a few years later, the Demonbreun St bridge was declared structurally unsound and torn down to be replaced, the Clement Landport was left orphaned: the bridge had been the only way to access the landport structure.  The bridge was rebuilt in a few years, however, and the landport reconnected.  It still never did very well, and the buses stopped using the landport in 2012.

“The (commuter) trains have to come.  If they don’t, I’m not sure the landport will have much value,” former MTA CEO Paul Ballard told The Tennessean in 2005.

Now, the entire structure — top and bottom — is used for parking.  And the MTA knows it’s sitting on a valuable, underutilized piece of real estate: $8.4 million for the 3 acres.

Even as late as last fall, the MTA was still thinking about resurrecting the landport as a second downtown transit hub.  Even the new 25-year strategic transit plan, nMotion, intends to build a second bus station in the southern part of downtown.  But with this sale in process, it seems that the Clement Landport will not be the site of that bus hub.

In the deal worked out by Barry, the city government would purchase the land from the MTA, give the state and the city their 10% interests in the property, then sell it to the owner of Cummins Station for $7.56 million.  The bridge wouldn’t actually be built on the site of the landport, though.  Instead, it would have a landing on another part of Cummins Station’s property, for which the city will pay them $2.662 million.

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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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The storm comes marching in

Victoria Parker watched that massive rainstorm we had yesterday afternoon roll in from her perch in Gulch Crossing (which is the most expensive commercial real estate in the city).  And she shared a time lapse of that rather impressive weather event:

This weekend, today included, is supposed to be nice weather.  Nashville Severe Weather has the full report, complete with Seinfeld gifs.

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Free Food Day

The Grilled Cheeserie, Ben & Jerry’s, and Juice Bar are all giving away free food today.

The Grilled Cheeserie gave away sandwiches at the Nashville Farmer’s Market for an hour and a half, but they’re out now:

@mrstevemusic playing to the end of the long long line of grilled cheese lovers 🎤🎸✌🏽️ So many awesome people came out in support of #grilledcheeseday2016 lining up super early to get their place in line 😊 Here are the stats from our hour and a half long grilled cheese give away: 🧀&🍞400 @kennyscheese "Real American" on @silkesbreads Country White 🍨300 Scoops of @benandjerrys Americone Dream ❤️237 Bottles of super cute glass bottled cokes 150 Bottles of Water 💕357 @hankabee buttons 🍺200 @orderup_nashville koozies 🗳 Dozens registered to vote! 🎤401 smiles were had by the music of @mrstevemusic Thank you so much to the @nashvillefarmersmarket for hosting us and to @orderup_nashville & @creationgardens for making this generous give away possible 🧀🍞💛🧀🍞💛#grilledcheeseday2016 #realamericancheeserie #🇺🇸🧀 #foodtrucknash #nashfoodtrucks #nashville

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Other people with lots of time on their hands to stand in line found some free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s across 21st Ave from Vanderbilt:

And the new Juice Bar location in the Gulch is now open.  A citizen reporter told me (via email) that they’re giving away free juice and food today.  And S Lichen wants to make sure you come in:

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Building Collapse on Demonbreun Street

MNPD is reporting that the old Cokesbury building unexpectedly collapsed on Demonbreun Street at 9th Ave, including onto a passing truck driver:

Poppa Garret captured another angle of the scene:

NES reports that 1600 customers in the Gulch are powerless after the collapse hit some wires.

Demolition of the building will go on today and into the night.

The building was in the process of being demolished.  It used to house the printing and publishing operations of Cokesbury, a religious publisher.

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