Nashville, TN or It City, as our local media calls it, will grow by a staggering million more residents over the next few decades. In fact, a recent CNN Money article highlighted Music City as one of the top ten fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States.
With the flood of affluent new residents, Nashville's inner city neighborhoods have blown up and some land values have appreciated faster than the value of the modest-sized homes built on them. Last December, the Nashville Scene published a cover story, Demolition Derby, exposing that developers spent $3 million in 2013 to tear down 549 residential properties. Opponents argue that many of these homes have been replaced by oversized three-story duplexes that don't blend in with the charming fabric of these neighborhoods.
My neighborhood, East Nashville, has seen its fair share of teardowns and infill. This includes the seemingly careless rapid demolition of historic homes. An local news article from January shared neighbors' concerns over the dramatic changes.
A fiery debate in our neighborhood's Facebook Group recently addressed the large volume of letters residents have been receiving from “shady” residential developers offering to make a “fair offer” for their properties. Many are insulted that developers are referring to their homes as “teardowns” and others are concerned that historic architecture and unique character is at risk of being destroyed.
What About My Home?
Many long-time East Nashville residents are fearful and resistant to any type of change and I find that misguided. Inner city neighborhoods, in a metropolitan area adding one million people, should expect infill and work to be a part of the conversation by talking to other residents, participating in neighborhood groups, and attending rezoning meetings. I would be pleased to see East Nashville proceed thoughtfully with caution and sensitivity to current residents, but help everyone see that the rising tide will lift all boats. I'm looking forward to seeing my property value rise in coming years.
I absolutely love my 1950s ranch house, located on one of East Nashville's busiest streets. Due to the hard work of my neighborhood association, the opposite side of my street will soon be protected by a historic overlay. The majority of the homes on my side of the street are owned by a single family who has rented them out and they have fallen into various states of disrepair. It's inevitable that at least a portion of my side of the street will eventually succumb to some type of mixed use development. My .75 acre property borders a commercial district, so it would be ripe for future development. Right now, it's hard to say exactly what my decision would be if I were presented with an attractive opportunity to sell.
Readers: Would You Sell Your Home to Developer to Tear Down?