Thursday, November 16, 2006

Arresting Westin Questions

The debate over the proposed Lower Broadway Westin rages on over at the Charrette. This is truly a significant issue for Downtown and those of us who live around it. And the Charrette Administrator, bzorch, poses questions that have the most gravity for us. Be sure you read to the end, because his comments crescendo to making the point that the Westin has cut the size of its hotels in other cities to fit scale, but obviously feels no need to do so in our case. You have to wonder why. What is it about Nashville that makes us prone to teardown?
Why do other cities nurture and protect their historic districts? Are there any areas that are worth keeping in Nashville? Those on both sides tout the district as the heart of the community and a worthy economic generator. Why would you destroy the exact resource you are capitalizing on? That is a loaded question, because I believe most of the proponents for this project do not think it will destroy anything? What does the community gain out of this when the dust settles? Jobs and revenue are the best thing that come out of this project and I am all for economic development. These are great things to have, but at what cost. What is the end game in 10-20years? It is not the buildings we are talking about here, it is Lower Broadway and the future of Nashville. Is Lower Broadway worth keeping? Why do we have to accept an undesirable design? Why would we want to? Are we that desperate to think that this is the end all? There have not been many who have said this building is attractive. It is uninspired. Is it worthy for one of the most important corners in Nashville? Will we all be proud of this building? Even with the understanding that nothing is perfect, we still should be proud of the results .... With a little imagination, passion, and care this block could be spectacular. It is so easy to wipe the slate clean and start over. Other cities have protected their historic districts and prospered. Fayetteville, AR’s Westin proposal was lowered from 15 to 9 stories. The Westin near Beale Street in Memphis is only going to be 10-stories. Could you imagine this in downtown Charleston, the French Quarter, downtown Franklin? Are we embarrassed of our roots?

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