East Bank's NABRICO Building sheds skin, awaits stabilization

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 10:05pm

Downtown’s historic NABRICO Building has shed much of its skin as 2010 comes to a close.

The quirky six-story structure, which straddles the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge along the East Bank of the Cumberland River, is now basically a skeleton that awaits to be fully stabilized and re-skinned with lots of glass.

“We’re pretty much seeing the end of what needs to be removed to put the building back together,” said Ed Owens, the Metro Development and Housing Agency official who is serving as riverfront director on the project. Owens is joined by Chris Koster of the Metro Parks Department, with the city simultaneously working on both NABRICO and nearby Adventure Park.

Nashville-based R.G. Anderson Co. is serving as general contractor for the NABRICO project, which carries a price tag of $6.9 million. The architect is Hastings Architecture Associates, also a local operation.

Comprised of three wings constructed during different decades, NABRICO’s 1923 wing had featured exterior material that was “nothing more than wire lath covered with stucco,” Owens said. The lath had rusted and corroded during the past 77 years, he said, and its removal has left much of NABRICO looking essentially nude.

“With most historic restoration projects, the initial demolition looks a little surprising,” Owens said.

During the process of removing the exterior covering, the team determined the building’s windows are actually smaller than the original versions, Owens said.

“To bring it back to original character, we’re enlarging the window openings,” he said.

Owens said full-scale stabilization work will begin soon, with the completion of the project still on schedule and slated for the end of summer 2011. 

2 Comments on this post:

By: shinestx on 12/23/10 at 8:53

William, if the Nabrico building was built in 1923, and the wire/stucco has disintegrated over the past 77 years, then why didn't it corrode over the first 10 years after being built?

By: WilliamWilliams on 12/25/10 at 3:29
Very good question, shinestx. Perhaps some corrosion happened in the early stages but it required years for this level of deterioration. It's worth checking. Thanks, WW