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Mixed-use development planned for Donelson area around transit access

(Fox 17 News)

The Donelson area is set to see Nashville's first transit-oriented redevelopment plan.

Keith Weiser opened the Bowtie Barista coffee shop in Donelson eight months ago. He also owns Bowtie Barber Club next door.

He says he’s excited that city leaders are brewing a mixed-use and mixed-income plan along Lebanon Pike that can help boost his businesses.

“That’s why I wanted to get Bowtie Barista established to prepare for what’s to come in Donelson," Weiser said.

The plan pushed by MDHA is called a Tranist Oriented Redevelopment plan –a first for Nashville. The 145 acre development will be anchored by the Music City Star Donelson stop off Lebanon Pike.

The plan includes a mixture of homes, businesses and ample sidewalks. MDHA says building everything in one concentrated area would help increase convenience for those living and working in that area and help reduce traffic congestion.

By placing everything in a convenient location, more people will do business in that area instead of driving across town. They say, it’s a plan that works.

MDHA spokeswoman Jamie Berry says they’ve done redevelopment projects before including the Gulch area and they’re confident this would be just as successful.

“I can totally envision that downtown square and how it can lead into the train station, so to me, I’m very excited for it. I think it could be a positive thing for Donelson,” said Weiser.

But some say, not so fast.

“We want to make sure that this transit oriented development plan is done correctly,” said Nell Levin, a member of the affordable housing task force for NOAH.

Levin says there are some things to think about before greenlighting this plan.

“As we know, gentrification gets pushed up when you have transit so we want to make sure there is a strong affordability component in this transit development,” said Levin.

MDHA says not to worry. A significant portion of housing will be dedicated to those who follow affordable and workforce housing guidelines. Affordable housing is available to those who earn less than 60 percent of the median income of the Donelson area which is $37,000.

Workforce housing is available to those who earn between 60 percent and 120 percent of the median income, according to MDHA.

This project still has a ways to go. It is in the early stages. MDHA will go before the planning commission next week to present more details of the plan.

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