Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Westin Progresses (Depending on How You Define "Progress")

In the fight over building this new sky-scraping hotel on Lower Broad, I tend to be on the side of the preservationists for the simple fact that someone in power needs to balance out the other power of the almighty development dollar. I am glad that the Westin developers have had to face hurdles and to answer questions to see this project through. I am thankful that the matter is in the hands of Councilman Mike Jameson now, who is one of the more trustworthy and community-conscious civic leaders we have. I know that if Metro Council approves it (and they generally follow the recommendation of the member in whose district the development sits), everything that could be done to force architectural changes was done.

Where I part with the preservationists is on the seeming nostalgia used to justify historic preservation and to bar re-development. The Planning Department opposition seems to refer to Lower Broad as if we would be saving something pristine and halcyon, previously untouched by avarice, perdition, or ruin. I don't know the exact history of development along Lower Broad, but my guess is that the current low-rise structures there were probably built on top of the rubble of human greed and vantage without regard to the historic quality of what stood before.

If we are going to check the Westin, let's do so on the basis of breaking Nashville's destructive cycle of tearing down every old building and replacing it with the latest fashion in retail architecture just to line the pockets of a few executives one state over. Let's not do so on a nostalgic dream divorced from realism about human nature.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your view of this. I'm not opposed to Westin on this block at all, as long as the building can be called "beautiful" or "stunning". However the tower portion can not yet be described as either.