It could be said that the Nashville area is only as strong as its neighborhoods.
So‚ when it comes to recruiting new companies to the area‚ that may be especially true of the historic neighborhoods that are adjacent to Nashville’s urban core.
Just ask Matt Largen‚ director of business recruitment for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. He happens to live in one of those historic neighborhoods.
“I think having these neighborhoods is a huge plus for businesses looking to relocate here‚ especially those from more urban areas‚” says Largen‚ who lives with his wife and young daughter in Sylvan Park. “It adds to the inventory [of recruiting tools] about Nashville. It makes a big difference to have these historic neighborhoods.”
Sylvan Park is one of several distinct neighborhoods near downtown Nashville. Others include Germantown‚ East End‚ Belmont-Hillsboro‚ Lockeland Springs and Richland-West End‚ to name just a few. Each of these offers a variety of housing opportunities and a rich history.
“The first thing we liked about Sylvan Park was the location‚” says Largen‚ who moved to Nashville from Little Rock‚ Ark. “We’re four miles from downtown‚ and we’re convenient to other parts of the city.
“Plus‚ you can get the urban feel‚ which we like‚ yet still have a back yard. We also like the fact that the homes don’t all look the same. They all have character.”
Germantown is Nashville’s oldest neighborhood. Founded in the late 1840s‚ it was the city’s first suburb and now features an eclectic mix of homes built from 1840 through 1930.
“There are several things to like about Germantown‚” says Skip Lawrence‚ a resident there who is co-owner of Lawrence Brothers Development‚ which developed Morgan Park Place and other projects in the neighborhood. “It is a traditional community in its layout‚ with sidewalks and a street grid. The community itself is real strong and very cohesive and involved.
“There’s a wide mix of people here‚” he continues. “It attracts artists‚ empty nesters and young professionals. That adds a nice flavor to it.”
Nashville’s smallest historic neighborhood may be its most vibrant. Dating back to 1876, East End is located between Edgefield and Lockeland Springs.
“We have a really high level of involvement in community activities‚” says Jeff Ockerman‚ a founding member of the East End Neighborhood Association and a resident since the early 1980s. “There are a lot of high-activism people really interested in the area‚ people wanting to make positive changes and knowing they really can have an impact on their environment.”
Key to East End’s vibrancy is Five Points‚ a commercial development that offers a variety of restaurants and unusual retail shops.
“It has made a tremendous difference in terms of making it feel more like a real urban neighborhood‚” Ockerman says‚ “and making it more attractive for people to want to live here more long-term.”
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