Cumberland River Compact plans new river center, office space for Bridge Building

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 6:45pm

In a move that will continue rounding out development on the East Bank, the Cumberland River Compact on Tuesday announced the opening of the Cumberland River Center in the historic Bridge Building.

The 5,200-square-foot third floor of the recently redeveloped building at the base of the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge is set to house the Cumberland River Compact’s new office space. The river center, set to open next spring, will eventually offer space for environmental workshops, forums and training programs overlooking the river.

Paul Sloan was also named the new executive director of the Cumberland River Compact, a nonprofit organization aiming to sustain and improve local water resources.

“In a fundamental way, the history and health of the river defines who we are and the care we give it will determine the inheritance we give to our children. Our water, our future,” Sloan said. “This is why the Cumberland River Center is so vitally important.”

Mayor Karl Dean called the project an “ideal location to educate and gain stewardship for our city’s river.”

“Nashville’s continued growth will never be hindered by a lack of water. And we, as stewards, have a responsibility to protect that water and maintain that water to make it an asset for the entire community,” Dean said. “This is a big step in that direction.”

Baron Dowdle Construction has a 40-year lease agreement for the Bridge Building with the Metro Development and Housing Authority. The Cumberland River Compact received more than $1 million in donations from the Ingram Barge Company and other local supporters to sub-lease the space from Baron Dowdle.

The building, which is near the recently opened Cumberland Park, also includes Metro Parks and Recreation Department offices as well as event space.

Baron Dowdle CEO Michael Baron said they have heard from several prospective tenants about the final available space on the sixth floor.

“We’re trying to secure a tenant for the [sixth floor] as we speak,” Baron said. “[We’re looking for a tenant who is] environmentally conscious and community-oriented.”