GBT looks to develop ex-Firestone property with 23-plus-floor office and retail tower

Downtown Nashville’s western fringe along 13th Avenue and looming over the inner-interstate loop is assuming the form and function of a massive urban wall.

And that dramatic physical arrangement will soon be bolstered as Brentwood-based GBT Realty unveiled plans Monday for a Class A office tower to sit on the former Firestone site in The Gulch.

The address is 1221 Broadway, with a groundbreaking eyed by year’s end, according to a release. A 2022 completed is being targeted, with the company not disclosing the estimated price tag to undertake the development.

GBT expects the future tower to offer between 365,000 and 500,000 square feet and between 23 and 27 stories. About 7,000 square feet of ground-level retail space will be included.

Nashville-based Gresham Smith will serve as lead architect.

“We’ve designed this tower to be a stunning addition to the skyline that will redefine the Broadway gateway entering downtown Nashville,” George Tomlin, GBT president and CEO, said in the release. “1221 Broadway will be a premier corporate address in Nashville. Being in The Gulch, it will offer workers immediate walkability to apartments, restaurants, entertainment and grocery shopping. With a Broadway address, the site also has quick connectivity to the center of downtown, out of downtown, and onto Interstate-40 and I-65.”

“Market reception to the luxury quality of the project along with its strategic location has been extremely enthusiastic [thus far],” Tomlin added.

The parcel is zoned to allow a building of 20 floors. It falls within the Metro Planning Department’s Downtown Code and, as such, GBT eventually will go before the Downtown Code Review Committee to seek bonus height, which could yield a structure of, as noted, up to 27 floors. The company is expected to offer street-level activation and design elements beyond what is required to gain the bonus height.

The property does not sit within the Metro Development and Housing Agency’s Arts Center Redevelopment District, so no MDHA Design Review Committee approval will be needed.

Brasfield & Gorrie will serve as the general contractor. CBRE brokers marketing the site include Taylor Hillenmeyer, Janelle Gallagher, Frank Thomasson, and Byran Fort.

Regarding the previously mentioned high-rise wall theme, across Broadway from the GBT site, Austin-based Endeavor is developing a 27-story mixed-used tower to be anchored by a Whole Food grocery store. That high-rise is soon to be topped.

Endeavor is also underway with the 20-story office building component of its Gulch Union at the northwest corner of the intersection of 12th and Demonbreun Street.

To be sandwiched by Gulch Union and the GBT tower will be the 16-story Hotel BroadwayMcMinnville-based real estate investors and developers Bobby Kirby and Jewell Hale and Nashville-based hotelier Rajesh Aggarwal plan for the northeast corner of the T-intersection of McGavock Street and 13th. 

On the south side of Demonbreun sit the 15-story 1201 Demonbreun (office and retail) and the 23-floor Twelve Twelve (residential and retail).

And north of 1200 Broadway and on George L. Davis Boulevard (13th) are located both The Gossett (apartments) and the NES Building.

Within three years, and with all planned buildings finished, 13th will feature a dramatic six-block span of towers that will create a gateway for those moving from Midtown east into downtown.

Long know for investing in suburban-style big-box properties, GBT Realty has undertaken various urban projects in Nashville the past few years. Its previous work includes Village 21 at Regions Park (a retail and apartment building) and apartment building Belcourt Park, both located in Hillsboro Village.

In addition, GBT is eyeing for the West End corridor a building that would rise 14 floors at its tallest point and play like two distinct structures bifurcated by a green courtyard and street-level restaurants and retail. One main piece as proposed would offer residential space, with the other component to feature a hotel. Gresham Smith is handling design of that building too (read here). The address is 3415 Murphy Road.

GBT paid $7 million for the aforementioned Firestone site in December 2018, according to Metro records.

In addition, GBT has an adjacent parcel under contract with local real estate investor Rusty Dunn. The company is not disclosing what it will pay Dunn for his property, a sliver lot located at 1223 Broadway. In February 2018, Dunn listed that site for sale for $2.6 million after originally asking $3.9 million.

The addition of the Dunn lot would yield a GBT project footprint of 0.77 acres.