Large music venue, movie theater part of planned $1B Nashville Yards project

Nashville Yards



(Photo: Gresham Smith and Partners)

The nation’s second largest live entertainment company has a roughly 4,000-capacity indoor music venue on the drawing board as part of the massive Nashville Yards commercial and residential project planned near downtown.

Under Los Angeles-based AEG‘s plans, the music venue would anchor a mixed-use entertainment district on a four-acre portion of the overall 15-acre former LifeWay Christian Resources campus. AEG’s plans for the land under contract with Nashville Yards’ master-developer Southwest Value Partners also calls for an 850-seat Regal Cinemas theater complex, a 600-700-capacity live entertainment club and a 240-room boutique hotel with other entertainment and up to a dozen food and beverage offerings.

“We’re really creating a destination for not only live entertainment, but also for good food and beverage options,” said Ted Tanner, corporate executive vice president of real estate with AEG. “It would be geared towards local Nashville, not just for tourism.”

Overall, Nashville Yards is expected to include more than 4 million square feet of new retail, hospitality, office, residential and entertainment uses worth more than $1 billion. Southwest Value has partnered with Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. as its main development partner for office, retail and multifamily buildings on two parcels with Dimension Development Co. to co-develop a 23-story, 600-room Hyatt Regency hotel.

Tanner said AEG plans to move quickly with development of half a million square feet of building space after closing its purchase of the four acres. AEG also has an option to buy another two parcels totaling 1½ acres, which would bring to 5.5 acres its portion of the former LifeWay campus bordered by Church and Commerce streets and Tenth and Ninth avenues north and its building space to more than one million square feet.

Tanner said the music venue would be available to host more than music events with AEG to also operate the live entertainment club-type space. The nine-screen, upscale luxury, full reclining seat movie theater with the latest audio visual technology will be operated by AEG’s sister company Regal Entertainment. Plans for the two additional parcels AEG has an option to buy call for future development of residential, creative and other office space, possibly a third hotel at Nashville Yards and ground-floor retail.

Tyler Jones, an executive vice president with Lincoln Property, said the real estate development and services firm and Southwest Value plan to create a live, work, play environment on the two office, retail and multifamily parcels between the planned Hyatt Regency on the former LifeWay Christian store site and Broadway and Church.

Moving north from Broadway, plans call for eight stories of 250 multifamily units atop two floors of retail, two creative office buildings totaling 500,000 to 600,000 square feet and about 100,000 square feet of food and beverage, soft goods and other retail, fully integrated via a boardwalk tying the site together and with activation of an urban park.

“Part of what we’re really looking at is the opportunity to fully integrate the site into the downtown financial district, into that Church Street corridor that really for so long this 15 acres has not been integrated with,” said Kim Hawkins, principal with landscape architect Hawkins Partners, citing plans for more pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.

Hawkins cites an opportunity to buy more than an acre and half of adjacent non-track land from railroad operator CSX for a park that could be the front yard to the Nashville Yards project. “It has an opportunity to contribute to the whole community and provide more open space whether it’s for bikeways, pedestrians or the opportunity of play,” she said.

The Hyatt Regency hotel, which Louisiana-based Dimension Development will also manage under the Hyatt flag, will include 55 suites, 65,000 square foot of group meeting space, two restaurants and a spa. A first quarter groundbreaking for that hotel would kick off work at Nashville Yards with completion of that building targeted for the spring of 2020.

“In any major Metropolitan area there’s a built-in following for Hyatt,” said Sam Friedman, CEO of hotel development and management company Dimension Development, citing Hyatt-loyal customers, group bookings and other opportunities.

Could Nashville Yards footprint expand?

Cary Mack, a managing partner with Southwest Value, said prospective grocery store tenants and other retailers have expressed interest in opening locations at Nashville Yards. “There’s a high retail demand for the overall site that we’re talking to,” he said.

Southwest Value’s $125 million acquisition of the 15-acre LifeWay campus excluded the Southern Baptist Convention’s seven-story headquarters at 901 Commerce St., which the convention just authorized that denomination’s executive committee to sell if it receives an acceptable offer. “We love Nashville and are always open to additional opportunities including that prospective transaction,” Mack said when asked about Southwest Value’s interest in that property. (Getahn Ward at