Skip to Content

Group Selected to Develop Nashville Convention Center Into Retail, Office Space


Mayor Says Plans “Maximizes” Prime Downtown Location

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A group led by Cushman & Wakefield/Cornerstone has been selected to transform the Nashville Convention Center on Lower Broadway into a more than 1 million square foot development, featuring office, a significant amount of retail and hospitality/restaurant space. It would also include underground parking and entertainment complexes, including about 50,000 square feet for the National Museum of African American Music. Cushman & Wakefield/Cornerstone has proposed a $230 million private project cost and formed a team led by Pat Emery, president of Spectrum/Emery, to serve as master developer.

“This plan maximizes this prime location in the heart of our downtown tourism and entertainment district by bringing in more places to shop, eat, visit and work,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “The retail component and office tower will round out what we know could make our downtown an even more vibrant destination. There is growing demand for high quality office space, and we also know that conventioneers, visitors and local residents want to do more shopping while they’re downtown.”

The master development team and Metro will enter negotiations regarding the project’s timeline, benchmarks and financial arrangements. The team proposes to demolish the current Nashville Convention Center structure and replace it with more than 1 million square feet of new space that will be comprised of Class A office space, retail and entertainment. The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will be featured prominently as an attraction on the Broadway side of the new development, across from Bridgestone Arena.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide our city with an authentic, signature Nashville project which will visibly contribute to the growing Music City vibe,” said Buck Haltiwanger, principal and head of corporate services for Cushman & Wakefield/Cornerstone. “The team’s goal is to deliver a high quality, open-air, pedestrian-friendly destination to further enhance the city’s image through the network of visitors descending upon Nashville annually.”

The project’s scope and design elements will be refined in 2014 through community input.

Initial concepts include:

  • Up to 840,000 square feet of Class A office space in a tower that will rise near the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Commerce, as a neighbor to the 673-room Renaissance Nashville Hotel. 
  • Two levels of open-air retail, entertainment, dining and activity space, including about 50,000 square feet for the museum. The current plan is for up to 244,000 square feet of high-quality destination retail.
  • Providing the Renaissance Hotel with access from Fifth and Broadway and developing a new conference center to support the hotel’s corporate meeting business will maximize synergy between the neighbors.
  • Creation of an expanded plaza at the corner of Fifth and Broadway to connect the project in a critical way to the Avenue of the Arts and major attractions that include The Ryman Auditorium, Bridgestone Arena, and the Music City Center and the 5th Avenue Arts District. A plaza-like setting along Fifth Avenue will provide a new showcase for The Ryman.
  • Emphasis on environmental sustainability in construction and the functioning physical environment.
  • A commitment to meet or exceed 20 percent minority and disadvantaged business throughout development and construction.

“This is a special project in many ways and particularly because the site sits in the middle of so many iconic and important destinations,” said project lead designer Jeffrey Kuhnhenn. “All the wonderful districts that have developed downtown is like a collection of pearls, and this projects will string them together.”

The selected team’s members include:

  • Emery, a local developer with more than 40 years of experience in commercial real estate and 30 years of working on high-profile, high-impact projects in the Nashville area.
  • Cushman & Wakefield/Cornerstone, recently responsible for the successful leasing of The Pinnacle at Symphony Place, will lead marketing and leasing, with Haltiwanger, Dick Fleming and Brent Basham as principals leading the convention center redevelopment project.
  • Gresham, Smith & Partners will serve as project architect and engineer.
  • Skanska, which has a 36-year history of construction in the Nashville area, will serve as general contractor.
  • Hawkins Partners, Inc., which has been involved in planning and redevelopment throughout the downtown area, will serve as landscape architect.
  • Sims Strategic Diversity Consultants will create a business diversity management plan.
  • Vision Street, based in Old Greenwich, CT, will serve as a retail and entertainment development, with Barton Hunter serving as lead consultant.
  • Hall Strategies will provide public relations and marketing services.

“It is exciting to us because Nashville is our home and this is a special opportunity to create a compelling project that impacts our city's skyline, the economy, business growth and entertainment,” Emery said.


Renderings provided by Gresham, Smith & Partners

Rendering of Nashville Convention Center transformation project
Rendering of Fifth Avenue North and Commerce

Rendering of Nashville Convention Center transformation project
Rendering of Fifth Avenue North and Broadway