Rumored Lower Broad Walgreens stirs wounds of scuttled hotel

Rumored Lower Broad Walgreens stirs wounds of scuttled hotel (Image 1)

A Walgreens on historic Lower Broadway?

That’s been more than a whisper amidst the movers and shakers in the area, but while no one is going on the record, it’s re-ignited an old controversy about a hotel project that was recently scuttled on the same site.

It’s clear that something is going on with the building at Third and Broadway that’s currently home to western clothing and boot store Trail West.

“We have it under contract,” realtor Charlie Robin told News 2 Wednesday.

He did not identify the buyer, but did say, “The buyer will do something responsible like the recent renovations on historic Broadway.”

Robin pointed at several businesses on the north of side of Broad between Third and Fourth avenues, including the building now housing Opry Place.

Not so sure about a Lower Broad Walgreens is Nashville Visitors and Convention Bureau President Butch Spyridon.

“It is not, in my opinion, an ideal use of one of the most valuable corners left downtown,” he told News 2. “An urban drug store might be a really good thing for downtown. An urban drug store on Lower Broad in the heart of what is unique and authentic to Nashville’s character deserves some scrutiny.”

Spyridon, who worked on putting a major hotel on the site of the Trail West building and adjacent properties between Second and Third avenues, has strong words for the Metro Historical Zoning Commission on why he thinks a recent deal with Hyatt did not work.

“Without question, the requirement for renovation and restoration of that site caused the price of the proposed hotel to become extremely difficult to finance, maybe one of the most expensive hotel projects per room that we would have seen,” he told News 2. “I can only hope that the obstacles would be equally difficult for an urban drugstore.”

The Visitors and Convention Bureau President’s words of blame have been disputed by others close to the Hyatt non-deal including Metro Historic Zoning Commission executive director Tim Walker.

Walker told News 2 that his commission follows guidelines approved by the Metro Planning Commission and the Metro Council.

As for those who might use a Walgreens at Third and Broad, Naomi Steffanson just didn’t see a drug fitting in with all the nearby restaurants.

“And I don’t see a need for one,” said Seffanson, a downtown worker. “We have a Walgreens in The Arcade,” referring to the historic indoor shopper area between Fourth and Fifth avenues a few blocks away.

Street musician Shad Story was more blunt playing his tunes across the street from the Trail West building.

“That ain’t no [sic] Walgreens and if they try to change that, it would look weird and awkward,” he told News 2 in between songs. “This is a historic part of town.”

As for Walgreens, a corporate spokesperson told News 2 “I have no information on the location you inquired about.”

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