Dining Notes 

The latest on the Becker's building

When Andy, Richard, Robert and Patrick Howell closed recently on the three parcels that make up the Becker's Bakery property on 12th Avenue South, it extended the Howell brothers' holdings to the entire eastern side of 12th Avenue between Montrose and Halcyon avenues. Grandfather Charles Howell Jr. bought the first piece of family real estate there in the late '30s and opened a hardware store, where the Howell boys worked as young men. Until selling to his sons, Charles Howell III owned the rambling 2706 building south of the Becker's parking lot.

These days, the Becker's building itself is looking much as it did when it opened more than 75 years ago. The Howells have removed the vinyl siding and a layer of stone to reveal the original brick, as well as some of the old painting. Inside, workers are cleaning and moving equipment, and sorting dozens and dozens of pie plates, muffin tins and cookie sheets for a possible "garage sale" down the road.

The quartet are not pursuing another bakery tenant; instead they are considering breaking the 4,300-square-foot building into three separate spaces. They have fielded many calls from entrepreneurs interested in different uses for the space, retail and restaurant among them. They are also waiting to see what happens in June when the planning commission meets to discuss the subarea plan for the street, and how that will affect all of their properties on 12South. "I predict they will rezone this area to mixed use, which is great for us," says Andy Howell, "as we are quite interested in mixed-use development."

Though all plans are still firmly in the vision stage, the Howells are currently focusing on the concept of buildings that remain historically appropriate to the area and feature retail on the street level and residential above.

Email news, notes and tips to kswest@nashvillescene.com.

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