On Wednesday, Dec. 12, a fence went up around the free parking lot that serves patrons of the businesses that line Demonbreun between the Music Row roundabout and 14th Avenue. Whether you were in pursuit of a beer at Tin Roof or a pair of jeans from Flavour Boutique, you were suddenly out of a parking space.
With limited street parking on Demonbreun, the lot — which is immediately adjacent to the Comfort Inn — provided free parking for customers of establishments such as Dan McGuinness, Mirko Pasta, Sushiyobi and Red Rooster. In addition to possessing easy access to interstate exits, the strip has a close proximity to Music Row, Midtown, the Gulch and downtown Nashville that makes it a popular lunchtime and nightlife destination.
In early October, it was announced that the 1.5-acre lot was purchased by Faison Enterprises, a privately owned real estate investment company based in Charlotte, N.C., for $6.75 million. While the fate of this tract of land has been in question for years — previous owner Lionstone scrapped plans to build an office building to the tune of $75 million — Faison will break ground on a seven-story apartment building. Last month, the Nashville Post reported that the building will house five floors for residence and two levels of parking.
While the arrival of the fence took some patrons of area establishments by surprise — and caused employees to worry about how this might affect their paychecks — Morgan Kyle, general manager at Tin Roof, said businesses were notified in advance.
"I believe they came over and talked to Jason [Sheer], the owner," Kyle says. "I don't know how much advance notice they gave us."
Gwen Hopkins-Glascock of Metro Public Works stated that the city department was involved only on the front end to review development plans, and to conduct due diligence such as a traffic impact study. "When it gets to the point of construction, it's out of our hands unless it involves road closure," she explains.
Kyle says the old Fly South building, located at 1514 Demonbreun, will be torn down to make space for a five-story parking garage to serve the area. According to Kyle, construction on the garage should start in July. In the meantime, customers can park in the Off Broadway Shoes parking lot at 118 16th Ave. S. for free at night.
While the Off Broadway lot provides a temporary solution until the new parking garage is built, there is a catch: The new garage will be a paid lot, while the former lot across the street was free. Kyle doesn't think this will negatively affect the strip's businesses.
"Right now, even with the parking lot closed, we're still busy," he says. "Lunch this week has been great, and we were packed last night and the night before. So I don't really see it affecting us this much."
Despite the loss of the free parking lot, the new apartment building could have a positive impact on the area. "It will be nice when they build the apartment complex, it will help out Demonbreun Street's shops," Kyle says. "That's a built-in lunchtime and happy hour crowd."
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