August 16, 2019

Nashville chamber moving to Charlotte Avenue development

The region’s largest chamber of commerce is moving out of the heart of downtown Nashville, and into a new $750 million mixed-use development.

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce signed a lease Friday for space at the Capitol View development along Charlotte Avenue. The chamber has been based at the building at 211 Commerce St. since it opened 20 years ago. The chamber shares some of that space with the Nashville Health Care Council, which will follow the chamber to Capitol View.

One of the chamber’s roles is spearheading economic development and business recruiting efforts for Metro — including, for example, orchestrating Nashville’s bid for Amazon that culminated in the retail giant’s late-2018 announcement of a 5,000-job operations hub. The chamber also has been a leading voice advocating for more robust mass transit.

“We’re excited to be able to remain downtown. It’s so central to the success of the entire region. It was really a priority for us to stay in the downtown area,” said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the chamber, which has 2,000 member companies.

Like many companies, the chamber is taking less office space by moving into a new building with a more efficient layout. Together, the chamber and health care council will occupy 17,000 square feet, which is about 30% less than its existing footprint on Commerce Street.

The chamber employs about 45 people, according to its website.

Other tenants in the 10-story office building, at 500 11th Ave. N., include HealthStream Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM) and co-working giant WeWork Cos. The office building opened in April and is now 75% leased, said Jeff Haynes, co-managing partner of developer Boyle Investment Co.’s Middle Tennessee operation. At the current pace, the building will be all but full within the next six months, Haynes said.

The move also places the chamber in the same development as subsidiaries of HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA). The hospital chain gave rise to the region’s reputation as a premier health care hub and remains one of its dominant, highest-profile employers. Also in the development is the headquarters of LifeWay Christian Resources, a forthcoming Publix, a Hampton Inn & Suites hotel and 378 apartments. Boyle Investment Co. is leading the overall development alongside the real estate investment arm of Northwestern Mutual.

The chamber’s lease there ends May 1, 2020. Other notable tenants have weighed potential moves. The law firm Baker Donelson, whose name is atop the building, had announced a move to a tower proposed at the Korean Veterans Boulevard roundabout, though that deal later fell apart. FirstBank (NYSE: FBK) also has been exploring its options.

Brokerage firm CBRE Inc. (NYSE: CBRE) represents the building’s ownership. Nashville’s The Mathews Co. developed the building 20 years ago.

Originally published in the Nashville Business Journal