Printers Alley Getting a Makeover

The group eyeing Printers Alley for a hotel announced they have closed on three properties and have a fourth under contract, with plans to restore one of the buildings to its original use — a boutique hotel that will front Fourth Avenue and occupy the top floors.

According to a news release, "a world-class brand with locations in the U.S. and abroad" has committed to the 160-plus room hotel, though the brand itself was not disclosed. Local restaurant group Strategic Hospitality, owned by brothers Benjaminand Max Goldberg and responsible for Pinewood Social and The Catbird Seat (among others), will be involved on the food and beverage side.

Since the project first came to light, preservation groups have launched a campaign to "Save Printer's Alley," and over 14,000 people have liked the group's Facebook page. In the release, the property's developers said they will maintain the character of Printers Alley, but did not specifically address the fate of existing businesses.

The three property sales that closed, for a total of $4.3 million, are 206, 208 and 210 Fourth Avenue North, which back up to Printers Alley. According to the news release, 212 Fourth Ave. North is under contract and is expected to close soon.

The following are excerpts from today's news release:

“For the last couple of weeks, many people have questioned what our plans were, which is understandable. Unfortunately, due to contractual obligations, we weren’t able to discuss any details until we closed on the properties,” said Alex Marks, developer and principal of Royal Investments, who is partnering with Gulch developer Bill Barkley and equity partners including Jennifer and Billy Frist on the project. “We intend to build new structures over existing buildings while restoring the Embers Building and the Utopia Hotel building, returning it to its former glory as a boutique hotel which will front on Fourth Avenue. On the Printers Alley side, we intend to embrace and maintain the character, history and cultural identity that have created so many memories over the years. We believe people will be excited to see the details as they emerge. Now that we have closed, we are able to reach out to each of the tenants to discuss their leases.”

With the financing and appropriate zoning in place, the development group can now focus on engaging the community while moving forward on the design of the new structures above the alley and the historic restoration of the existing buildings.

Bill Barkley says the 160+ room hotel project has secured the commitment of a world-class brand with locations in the U.S. and abroad. Strategic Hospitality – known for introducing Nashville to new icons like the Catbird Seat, Pinewood Social and Broadway honky tonk Paradise Park Trailer Resort – will be involved on the food and beverage side.

“There are a lot of factors that drive these announcements, and we’re simply not in a position to reveal our hotel partner yet,” Barkley said.

Partner Billy Frist says the group is confident that their views are in line with what they’ve heard is most important to the public, and that the project team has been overwhelmed with the support for Printer’s Alley.

“The character of the area is important to our city, and we’re focused on doing it the right way for the right reasons,” Frist said. “This will be something we will all be proud to have as part of downtown Nashville.”

Marks says the group will reach out to the current tenants and continue to share details as they crystallize.

Article from Nashville Business Journal

Written by E.J. Boyer