New look proposed to re-start controversial downtown diner

New look proposed to re-start controversial downtown diner (Image 1)
New look proposed to re-start controversial downtown diner (Image 1)

Those behind the controversial Avenue Diner in downtown Nashville have proposed a new design they hope will jumpstart construction stalled earlier this summer by city inspectors.

A stop-work order was placed on the project in late June by the Metro Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) after it said construction had not complied with the condition of saving the walls of the existing structure at the site.

The new look apparently replaces the idea floated around earlier this month by one of the Diner’s owners that the space at Demonbreun and Third Avenue might become a parking lot for food trucks.

Doug Meisner, who represents the Diner, said the new proposal filed this week will be heard by the design committee of the Metro Development and Housing Agency on September 2.

The most eye-catching features of the new look for Avenue Diner are a much more pronounced seven-foot overhang for the upper floors and an additional two levels to the original design.

He estimated it would “cost an additional million dollars” than the original proposal.

Meisner told News 2, “We have complied with MDHA’s insistence that the design provide a 16 foot sidewalk along the Demonbreun Street side of the building. So, at this stage, there is no good reason for MDHA to hold up construction.”

MDHA Deputy Director Doug Sloan responded to News 2 that he had not yet seen the new design, but said, “if the plan allows for the roads and sidewalks to line up with that piece of the project along Demonbreun, that portion will likely be supported by the MDHA design committee.”

Sloan was quick to add that additional approval would be needed for things like the building’s construction materials, height and use.

Use has been a much publicized point of contention with development neighbors, like Tony Giarrantana, who has properties on both sides of the project.

He has been vocal about the noise if it’s a honkytonk, but has said if it’s a restaurant, “he’s okay with it.”

Meisner has told News 2 there are “no plans for live music,” while Giarrantana has long feared the site could turn into establishments like nearby Broadway honkytonks owned by those behind the Avenue Diner.

The two sides have long been at odds about the project and will likely spar it out when the proposal comes before the MDHA committee.

The Avenue Diner is also contesting MDHA’s refusal to consider a previous design for the site.

That argument goes for the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals on September 4.

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