Skanska Creates $400M Upscale Living and Entertainment Destination in Nashville
Evolution and Explosive Growth in Nashville: Fifth + Broadway Mixed-Use Development Adds Upscale Living, Office, and Dining Options to the Music City
Dining, shops, a museum, exquisite apartments, and upscale office space in Fifth + Broadway are under construction by Skanska USA in Nashville, Tennessee – creating a $400 million destination within one of the nation’s most iconic entertainment hubs.
“This development will be a place people come to eat and hang out and listen to music,” says Rob Johnson, Project Executive of Field Operations for Skanska USA Building in Nashville. “It is an amazing development.”
Burgin Dossett, Vice President at Brookfield Properties, the developer, adds “Fifth + Broadway is the culmination of the evolution and explosive growth of downtown Nashville. In 2008, there were 46,000 employees in downtown. Today, there are more than 72,000 people who work there. In 2010, there were just over 5,000 residents in downtown Nashville. Today, there are nearly 12,000 who call downtown home. In 2012, Nashville had 11.2 million visitors, which ballooned to 15.2 million by the end of 2018 – an increase of 30 percent in three years.”
The additional people led to demand for new entertainment, retail, office, and living options. Fifth + Broadway aims to deliver on that need. Dossett also indicates the project, set to be complete during fall of next year, will change people’s perceptions of downtown Nashville.
“The project will be a key component in Nashville’s evolution as a complete city while maintaining its originality and brand,” Dossett says. “We believe a stop at Fifth + Broadway to shop or enjoy its rooftop, food hall or any number of restaurants, will become synonymous with the Nashville experience.”
The Project Overview
The prime 6.2 acres of real estate became available when the city’s Metropolitan Council agreed to sell the 1980s-era Nashville Convention Center to private investors – Spectrum|Emery of Raleigh, North Carolina, and OliverMcMillan (now Brookfield Properties) of San Diego, California – for $11 million in 2015. The developers also agreed to pay for demolition, the National Museum of African American Music, and a meeting space. The city built a new convention center – the Music City Center – in 2010, leaving the original convention center obsolete.
The new mixed-use development includes a 345,000-square-foot residential tower with 350 apartments; a 25-story, 385,000-square-foot Class A office tower; 235,000 square feet of shops and restaurants with regionally based chefs; a renovated conference center; the National Museum of African American Music; and 2,400 parking spaces, most in two-levels of below grade parking garage. Additionally, the towers have their own parking. Altogether, the center contains more than 1.2 million square feet of new construction.
“It is an extremely complex project,” Johnson says. “It’s a true mixed-use development in downtown Nashville. Every inch of the site will be developed.”
Skanska began the project by rerouting utilities that ran through the exhibit hall to the conference center, before demolishing the old hall in 2017. Skanska renovated conference center space in the office tower before completing the demolition. Crews used manual and mechanical methods to bring the exhibit hall down.
The only unforeseen element of he demolition was a retaining wall holding up Commerce Street. Skanska installed a soil-nail shoring system as the retaining wall was taken out.
The construction firm divided the project into three components, each led by a project manager and superintendent. The residential tower, the office tower, and the retail and restaurant space have their own teams, all coordinating closely together.
The project includes a brick-lined thoroughfare running through the complex, referred to as L Street due to its topography. The internal street is level and will become a pedestrian area with retractable bollards for emergency vehicles and deliveries.
Fifth Avenue slopes from north to south and Broadway slopes from west to east. Bridgestone Arena sits to the south and Ryman Auditorium to the east. The Ryman is a historic structure, built in the 1890s and still operating as an auditorium for concerts and other events. The team has continuously coordinated with the Ryman’s staff and other neighbors of the project and worked around special events in downtown Nashville, like this year’s National Football League Draft and the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
Rock is common in the city, and solid rock was under the project. The foundation of the project includes spot footings, bearing on the solid rock. During blasting for excavation, Skanska conducted vibration monitoring to ensure the Ryman and other structures were not damaged.
“We were happy to find the rock,” Johnson says. “With rock foundations, there is either what you’ll consider good rock or bad rock, and the project is on what we consider good, solid rock.”
The residential tower includes 34 floors of apartments, a roof and a mechanical level at floor 36. Level eight is an amenities floor, with a pool. The lower portion of the residential tower has liner units, apartments facing out and a parking deck in the middle. The office tower has 24 floors, with a roof at floor 26 and mechanical space on top of that. It also has parking on the lower floors.
“The slab to deck rate on the tower is higher than in the residential tower,” Johnson says. “The office space requires higher ceilings for function ability.”
The residential tower has a concrete frame. The office tower sits on a concrete podium, with concrete to floor 11 and then structural steel for floors 12 to 24. The retail component has a structural steel frame.
“The steel is more adaptable for future use, as far as tenants move in and out, such as to locate penetrations to the floor below,” Johnson says.
The residential exterior will be a window wall. The office skin is curtain wall, and the retail exteriors are a precast system with multiple different finishes and colors.
Since construction began before all of the retail/restaurant tenants were secured, Skanska has had to modify some of the spaces, including demolishing a part of the structure that had just been built a month earlier. Being flexible to tenant needs as tenants are announced has been a key component to the team’s work.
The Skanska team is piloting a new field mobility tool from Procore of Carpinteria, California. The Fifth + Broadway team was one of a handful of Skanska project teams chosen nationally for the company to pilot the usage of Procore on a jobsite.
“It allows all of our personnel to be mobile,” Johnson says. “All of our field employees have iPads, and all of the construction documents are run through Procore.”
In addition to drawings, submittals, requests for information and other communication are transmitted via Procore. All of the subcontractors are using the tool as well. All of the drawings are the current, most updated drawings. However, field staff can compare an older to a current drawing to see what changed. Skanska created a BIM model for coordination of mechanical, electrical and the structure.
At one point during construction, four cranes were on site: a tower crane in each component and a crawler crane at the office tower. Currently, there are only two cranes on site. The cranes were fitted with collision detection devices. And the operators have their own radio frequency, so they can communicate directly with one another.
“The computers for the cranes know where the boom and trolley is for the other crane,” Johnson says. “If they come in close proximity, they shut each other down.”
The Fifth + Broadway development has a lot of moving pieces but construction is running smoothly with good coordination of all of the project partners.
“I’m proud of how all three of our teams are working together to make sure each other and the entire project is successful,” Johnson says. “That’s hard to accomplish, but when you accomplish it, people can do amazing things.”