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Margaritaville Nashville Hits Snag

March 24th, 2010

Plans to build a Margaritaville Cafe have hit a snag and must meet certain historical preservation guidelines to be approved:

The building sits in the Broadway Preservation District and has to meet strict construction guidelines.

The Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission staff found problems with some of the beach-themed restaurant’s signage and proposed glass wall that would replace the building’s windows.

The Broadway Preservation District came about in 2007 when a Westin Hotel was proposed for Lower Broadway. The guidelines have created a hurdle for Margaritaville.

Bloom said an open concept is crucial to Margaritaville’s concept.

“To where there’s pretty weather, then you can engage the sidewalk and the street for them to see in and to listen to the music, hear the music,” said Bloom.

The property owner said without the open windows Margaritaville would most likely not invest in Downtown Nashville.

Bloom estimated Margaritaville would employ close to 150 people and take in $10 million a year in sales. That could net Nashville close to a $1 million a year in tax revenue.

Other downtown restaurants do have open windows. Broadway Brewhouse and Paradise Park installed their windows before 2007.

“They’re there to protect the character of our city and the buildings that make up our city,” said Tim Walker, executive director of the Metro Historic Zoning Commission.

The group is charged with guiding construction in the city’s preservation districts. Walker’s staff reviews plans and makes recommendations to the full Historic Zoning Commission.

“Those buildings are unique to Nashville. They’re what makes Nashville, Nashville and not just any city,” said Walker.

The Broadway Preservation district guidelines read replacement storefronts most mimic the original storefront of the building. That is where Margaritaville’s plan hit a snag.

Small modifications will bring Margaritaville’s proposed signage into compliance with the preservation district’s guidelines.

Both sides are optimistic they will be able to work out a compromise.

“I would say we’re 90 percent there, and there are just a few modifications to be made before the projects approved,” said Walker.

“We think we’ll be able to come to an agreement that will satisfy everyone and move forward with this project,” said Bloom.

The snag is likely to delay construction by a month, but developers say the project is still on target to open at the end of this year.

Tagged in Business Empire, Margaritaville Cafes