What’s next for stalled downtown development?

What's next for stalled downtown development? (Image 1)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Located along West End Avenue just west of Interstate 40, West End Summit was supposed to be one of Nashville's premier developments with high end living alongside office and retail space.

When unveiled in 2006, the $300 million two-tower project promised to include a 500,000 square foot office tower, an InterContinental Hotel, 47 residences, signature restaurants and a spa, but over the last few years, has become a giant eyesore.

A huge hole dug in the ground for the project is now filled with water, more than 50 feet deep in some places, and a fence that used to boost renderings of the project has been replaced with wood paneling, painted gray, and no trespassing signs.

The developer of the project, Alex Palmer, declined to talk on camera but by phone told Nashville's News 2 part of the project is moving forward.

He said financing is in place for the office building and a local business is close to signing a deal to move in.

Palmer would not name the firm but said once the deal is finalized construction on one of project's towers would begin.

“We are very excited about the growth of the building,” he said.  “We are very close to having the office building ready to go.  We are working with a major firm.  Finances are together.  It's as close as it's ever been.”

Palmer wouldn't release a timeline but said it will take about two months to pump all of the water out of the giant hole.

As for the hotel tower, Palmer said there is no construction planned in the foreseeable future.

He told Nashville's News 2 he hasn't found financing but said his company, Alex S. Palmer and Company, is still under contract with InterContinental Hotel.

Health Concerns

The massive, water-filled hole has long been a source of concern for neighbors and people who work in the area and worry what health hazards the standing water brings.

“You don't want standing water around with mosquitoes and everything,” Crystal Allen told Nashville's News 2.  “It's kind of a blight sitting there.”

Al Davis added, “That standing water could breed mosquitoes certainly.”

As far as health concerns, Metro Public Health Department spokesperson Brian Todd said the project shouldn't be cause for alarm.

He told Nashville's News 2 the department tests the water for mosquito larvae and bacteria every year and has never found a problem.

“We do larvicide as a precaution in case it is anything that is mosquito larvae,” he explained, adding, “The water that's there is either rain water or part of the ground water system.  What we found is it's really no different than any of the lakes in this area.”

Over the years, Palmer has been the target of lawsuits because of the stalled deal.

He told Nashville's News 2 those were dealt with but declined to release any further details.

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