Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Nashville is a small southern city with a big list of attributes: a diverse economic base, galleries and public art, pro sports teams and, of course, music. “Music City” is home territory for the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum and the Grand Ole Opry.
The Urban Land Institute ranked the city 12th as a “market to watch” in its 2014 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, citing Nashville’s skilled workforce and diverse economy. In addition to music, industries like publishing, banking and health care drive business. It is also an affordable city boosted by Tennessee’s absence of a personal income tax.
Up until the mid-1990s, zoning restrictions prohibited residential development in downtown Nashville. Since the ban was lifted, the downtown population, while still relatively small, has nearly quadrupled. The rise of apartments, condominiums and lofts has enabled the capital to mesh country life with an urban sensibility.
In surrounding areas, neglected outposts are now hot new residential neighborhoods like The Gulch. This former industrial area fell into disrepair after World War II and stayed that way until the early 2000s when it was sustainably redeveloped. Today it’s an in-demand district of amenity-filled high rise condos, retailers and restaurants.
Just north of downtown Nashville is Germantown, developed as the city’s first suburb in the mid 19th century. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and a showcase for nearly two centuries of architectural diversity.
Another historic district is located in Franklin, which describes itself as 14 miles and 100 years from Nashville. The commitment to historic preservation is evident in its antebellum and Victorian homes. Franklin also offers gated mansions, equestrian estates and exquisitely crafted plantation homes. The city attracts families for its well-regarded schools.
One of the wealthiest areas is the independent city of Belle Meade. In 2013, Forbes named it a top place for those looking for a high end retirement lifestyle. The community started as a 5,300-acre plantation in the 19th century. Some 2,200 acres were sold early last century for residential development. As one of Nashville’s most prestigious neighborhoods, residences in Belle Meade are highly sought-after--which is why many homes are passed on through the generations rather than sold.