We know that change is coming to our district. Development is pushing up the northeast corridor and with it, great potential.
It is important that this development happens FOR us and not TO us. I've met with several eager businesses and developers that are interested and curious about this potential.
One summed it up quite easily in one word; Rooftops.
Small businesses want customers that have disposable income. Employers want available and affordable housing for the employees they hope to recruit. Large corporations look not only for space to build a headquarters but the lifestyle infrastructure that is around that development.
Rooftops. We need them. We have them! The NashvilleNext plan works well for us as it relates to our Tier One status in the Madison core. Mixed-use development on an extension of Neelys Bend over to the Westside and into District 8 and the revitalization of the back of Madison Square shopping center, much like what we've seen at 100 Oaks Mall, could completely revitalize our community.
The $50M mixed-use project underway in Sylvan Heights is an example of what is possible off of Gallatin to the West as well as Dickerson to the East.
New rooftops. But what of the homes we have? Beautiful 1/2 to 2 acre lots of single family homes in rolling hill neighborhoods with 50 foot trees. "This is similar to Green Hills" said one agent when I took them for a tour. "This reminds me of where I grew up," said another.
Madison community activist, Sasha Mullins-Lassiter recently pointed me to post in the Houston Business Journal Forget everything you thought you knew about Millennial homeownership.
Zillow forecasts that by the end of 2015, Millennials ages 23 to 34 years old will overtake Generation X as the largest group of U.S. homebuyers.
It was 1986 when I moved to Nashville. I put my new communications business and all I had into a U-Haul trailer and drove in on I-40. I had no clue where I was going to live. I figured I'd find a place when I got here. Today, the statistics are telling us that 75-85 people a day are moving into Davidson County. Think of that, today, as you are reading this, all those new neighbors, where are they going to live? Yes, they will look for apartments and houses to rent at first. We need those. It took a couple of years for me to find my spouse and two more to want to buy a house. We got a HUD house on an FHA loan, lived in it for 10 years and sold it for a enough profit to put a downpayment on our second home. Both opportunities were in Madison. We've lived here since 1990 and want to see it thrive for all the reasons you do.
Affordable housing is at the crossroads.
"I think we're at a crossroads," James Fraser, an Associate Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development in Peabody College said in a recent Tennessean article. "The people have spoken. … The next thing to do is to take some bold steps to make a strong statement that we care about the people who live here and that they can participate in the revitalization that's taking place across the city."
Inclusionary zoning policies generally require new housing developments to set aside a predetermined percentage of units for affordable housing. I support this. I also believe that any policy must consider what the market is willing to accept and the cost of land. Win-win opportunities are possible and must happen for our city, its businesses and its citizens to thrive with equity.
In the next four to five years, we will see potential realized. Rooftops. They are coming. They are here. Let's be smart about this development and make sure that it happens FOR us and not just TO us.