New Nashville Developments Nurture Artists

Artist rendering of the Ryman Lofts.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Nashville’s first affordable community designed for artists was held downtown yesterday (10/5). The Ryman Lofts are scheduled to open in 2012, and will include 60 apartments for a range of creative types. The $5.289 million endeavor will include meeting spaces that are conducive to artistic endeavors. A focus group of local artists helped with the design.

The idea for Ryman Lofts grew from the Music City Music Council, which recognized that making quality affordable urban housing available to emerging artists can spur small business development, reduce transportation demands and nurture the city’s creative workforce. The architect is Smith-Gee Studio and the contractor is R.G. Anderson.

“Nashville is known around the world for the work of our creative community and each year more people move here to Music City to pursue careers in the arts,” Mayor Karl Dean said at the groundbreaking. “The Ryman Lofts speak directly to the uniqueness of the Music City identity and will continue to help cultivate the city’s culturally rich and diverse community by creating affordable urban housing opportunities for artists.”

Entertaining the crowd was The Collective, an a cappella group made up of some of Nashville’s independent singer-songwriters currently competing on NBC’s The Sing-Off.

The Ryman Lofts are part of the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood, which also includes the Historic Trolley Barns, an 80,000 sq. ft. space being renovated for non-profit and creative companies. Moving in will be Emma, the Center for Nonprofit Management, Hands On Nashville, The Entrepreneur Center, Centric Architects and Metro Development Housing Authority, some as early as this year.

The Entrepreneur Center recently received a $2.5 million grant from the Economic Development Administration—the largest EDA grant in state history—for its renovation of Trolley Barn #1, a 22,000 sq. ft. facility that will house 72 incubation spaces, education facilities, office space, expected to launch 40 to 70 companies annually.

Rolling Mill Hill already includes the Art Deco, Victorian, Metro Building and Nance Place apartments.

Rendering of the Historic Trolley Barns.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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