April groundbreaking set for Tennessee State Museum
From The Tennessean | Joey Garrison
State officials received approval Tuesday from Metro Nashville government for the conceptual design of a long-discussed new Tennessee State Museum, putting the project on course for an April 6 groundbreaking.
If all goes according to plan, the new state museum in North Nashville will open in 2018 as Republican Gov. Bill Haslam finishes his final year in office.
The Metro Development and Housing Agency’s Design Review Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the conceptual design of the facility — even though state officials still haven’t presented the Metro panel its elevation plans for the Jefferson Street and Rosa Parks Boulevard sides of the structure. The intent is to submit those details in the coming months.
Tuesday’s vote came after Nashville’s Metro Council two weeks ago approved an amended land lease between Metro and state that calls for the demolition of the two northern sheds at the adjacent Nashville Farmers’ Market, which sits on state-owned property. Their removal will allow the state to build a 160-space surface parking lot to accommodate activity at the museum.
Project leaders have also formally requested for a grading permit with Metro Public Works that would allow work on the site to begin.
The state museum, cleared by the state legislature last year, is expected to cost $160 million, with $120 million coming from state dollars and $40 million from private funds raised by Haslam and other supporters of the museum.
Sheila Dial-Barton, principal of Nashville-based EOA Architects, on Tuesday presented designs plans for a 137,000-square-foot museum that will include 49,000 square feet of exhibit space, as well as education space and an auditorium. The 50-foot tall building is designed to be around for the next century.
“The goal of the governor for this project is to be a 100-year-old building,” Dial-Barton said, adding that the building will be composed of 100-year materials such as limestone, granite, marble and bronze.
The south entrance of the museum is considered the building’s primary entrance, and it could include outdoor green space and an outdoor dining area that would be shared by the farmers market. State officials are discussing placing the unused Tennessee Fox Trot Carousel on the east side of the building, though it would require funding to begin operating again.
Architects for the project must still address two components of the building with MDHA’s Design Review Committee.
One is the western edge of the facility on Rosa Parks Boulevard that is to include ramps for bus arrivals. The other is the northern side, which will sit 245 feet from Jefferson Street. The plan calls for green space between the building and Jefferson Street with a potential for outdoor sculptures. This area has also been reserved for future expansion.
As a result, this side of the museum will not directly touch Jefferson Street, which has seen increasing development on the Germantown side of the corridor.
At Tuesday’s meeting, MDHA design review committee member Michael Owens said he still needs to see the design of the building on the north side, noting that it has not been made public.
“All the other sides look wonderful, but I haven’t seen anything for the north side."
Metro Councilman Freddie O’Connell, whose district includes the area, said it might take “a period of years” before the Jefferson Street-Rosa Parks Boulevard corner is activated by the museum. He said he hopes the public art on that side would “celebrate the intersection.”
“I’m always looking for great projects,” he said. “In this case, the state is making a $160 million investment in Nashville at that location, and my hope is that it appropriately incorporates the Jefferson Street corridor and fits the context of the urban environment on which this is being situated.”
In other business Tuesday, the MDHA’s Design Review Committee approved the conceptual plans for a new 16-story, mixed-use project in the Gulch neighborhood that is to include a 250-unit luxury W Hotels & Resorts and a 200-unit residential tower.
The project, proposed by Nashville-based Corner Partnership LLC and Magellan Development Group of Chicago, is planned for a 1.29-acre site that was previously planned for a project called Griffin Plaza.
Despite the approval, MDHA officials have asked project leaders to review three separate design modifications, including the entranceway for vehicles on 12th Avenue South.