n those early days we struggled to get partners, to get lenders and to get tenants that believed in our vision of urban development, a concept called New Urbanism. As far as Steve and I were concerned, we wanted to give the pedestrians a chance in this car town. We knew the number one component is residential. You can’t rely on getting people to drive into your area to sustain all these different businesses. What was scary was that when we started, there had already been several attempts that had failed.
It was very difficult to convince other people in the rest of the country because in the early 2000s Nashville wasn't a really popular place to be, certainly not like it is today. There was very little, if any residential development in downtown Nashville. At that time Nashville had about 100 residents downtown and most of those were homeless. In fact, we were instrumental in getting the codes changed to permit residential development in downtown Nashville. Up to that point, there were one or two that had been built but they were really just one-offs.
Our belief was that Nashville is different, and downtown is different. We wanted to custom tailor our zoning and revise the existing codes from a hundred years ago, from a different city. Our vision that we wrote into the codes called for “a dense downtown to provide citizens with all daily needs within walking distance.” And that’s what we’ve done.