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O’Connell administration files legislation to deliver on neighborhoods envisioned in Imagine East Bank

Master Developer deal includes a 99-year ground lease for affordable housing

by PRIDE Newsdesk
East Bank development

Mayor Freddie O’Connell’s administration has filed two pieces of legislation related to the initial development of Metro-owned East Bank land. The move will ensure neighborhoods feature a mix of affordability developed with all Nashvillians in mind and will bring a beloved cultural asset into the heart of the new East Bank Community.

The two pieces of legislation are:

  1. Ordinance authorizing Metro and The Fallon Company to develop the first 30 acres of Metro-owned East Bank land.
  2. Resolution approving a non-binding memorandum of understanding (TPAC MOU) related to the location of a new Tennessee Performing Arts Center to Metro-owned land on the East Bank.

The legislation delivers on the recommendations of the Imagine East Bank Vision Plan, a two-year study with robust community engagement (1700+ survey responses and 50 public meetings) that assessed what Nashvillians want built in the area. Those priorities (safe, simple multimodal connections, an equitable and affordable East Bank, respect for the river, and neighborhoods for Nashvillians) were unanimously adopted by the Metro Planning Commission in October 2022.

Since Mayor O’Connell and his team took office, they have prioritized negotiating the best deal for all Nashvillians, one that benefits residents regardless of their socioeconomic background.

“We heard loud and clear that Nashvillians want spaces that feel welcoming, are affordable, and are safe for all modes of transportation,” said O’Connell. “Our work on the East Bank should serve as a model for how we connect neighborhoods, foster community, and make Nashville a place you want to stay.”

The Ordinance would allow Metro and The Fallon Company to enter into a development agreement and 99-year ground leases for approximately 30 acres of Metro-owned, East Bank land.

The centerpiece of the Development Agreement is the required delivery of 1,550 housing units with a robust mix of affordability requirements. The Development Agreement includes the following milestones:

  • Within two years – deliver 300, 100% affordable residential units, together with constructed and reserved space for a children’s day care;
  • Within six years – deliver 400 additional residential units, with 10% being affordable;
  • Within nine years – deliver 550 additional residential units, with 10% being affordable;
  • Once James Robertson Pkwy. is lowered to grade – deliver an additional 300, 100% affordable residential units, to be jointly developed with an East Bank mobility hub.

The Development Agreement requires residential affordability to remain in place for the 99-year duration of the leases, ensuring that the East Bank remains an affordable neighborhood for Nashvillians, an unprecedented first for affordability leases in Nashville’s history.

The Development Agreement and the TPAC MOU also outline that:

  • The Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge will be extended and redesigned to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access through the East Bank. The majority of the costs of the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge will be covered by Fallon and TPAC.
  • The commencement of construction of the East Bank Boulevard, with the portion from Victory Way to Shelby being funded by Fallon.
  • The construction of the Cumberland Walk by TPAC and Fallon – a pedestrian and bicycle friendly path from Shelby and Interstate Drive to the Cumberland River.

“We’re proud to be part of Nashville’s story and excited to transform the East Bank into a thriving, inclusive, accessible, and affordable neighborhood for all Nashvillians,” said Fallon Company President Brian Awe. “We’ve worked diligently with Mayor O’Connell, Chief Development Officer Bob Mendes, and the talented Metro team to ensure the community’s vision and input is reflected in every aspect of our plan. We look forward to continuing to partner with Metro and the residents of Nashville to bring our shared vision to life.”

The legislation accomplishes several important goals outlined by the Mayor’s Office, including:

  • Initiates the development of the Metro-owned East Bank land in a manner consistent with the goals of the Imagine East Bank Vision Plan with special emphasis on creating neighborhoods that prioritize housing, affordable housing, resiliency, and mobility.
  • Facilitates the relocation of a longstanding Nashville cultural mainstay, TPAC, to the East Bank, which is also recommended in Imagine East Bank.
  • Extends the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in a manner that will more safely and effectively provide pedestrian and bicycle access between Downtown and East Nashville.
  • Leverages private funds to support the installation of infrastructure and the extension of the Pedestrian Bridge, a portion of the East Bank Boulevard and the Cumberland Walk.

“This is the first piece of legislation in what is going to be a decades-long, transformational project for Nashville,” said Metro Chief Development Officer Bob Mendes. “I am grateful to The Fallon Company for recognizing the importance of our goals in achieving a walkable, bike-able neighborhood that’s for locals at every economic level.”

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