With some buildings already demolished, Metro officials are looking to ramp up road construction in January on downtown’s Korean Veterans Boulevard extension, the future south border of Nashville’s new Music City Center.
Metro Public Works spokeswoman Gwen Hopkins-Glascock said the city has “right of entry” to all properties for the KVB extension, enabling the construction phase to begin on a $10.7 million road connector stretching from Fourth to Eighth avenues south. The hope is to have it completed by March 2013, near the date of Music City Center’s opening.
“The majority of construction won’t start until some time next month,” Hopkins-Glascock said, adding that work will include grating, utility work and prepping the street’s foundation. “It will be kind of difficult to tell because it’s [close to] the footprint of the convention center. Even though they’re separate projects, we’re using the same staging areas.”
The city has already started to clear the path for the new KVB, designed as a four-lane road, with a median down its middle.
On Thursday, crews razed a vintage brick building on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Lafayette Street near a future roundabout, which will mark the southwest corner of Music City Center. Its demolition followed the earlier destruction of a retail center on the other side of Eighth.
For months, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, has worked –– via condemnation or negotiation –– to acquire a combined 20 parcels from SoBro companies.
Eight parcels, according to TDOT spokeswoman B.J. Doughty, were seized via condemnation. As of Dec. 1, the transfer of two tracts was still not completely settled.
Eighty percent of the project’s dollars are federal funds. The remaining are Metro dollars. TDOT has overseen the street’s right-of-way acquisition.
KVB’s extension has forced the relocation of some companies. Included on that list is Tennessee Electric Motor Company, which worked out of a shop on Sixth Avenue until mid-September.
“It was either shut down the company, or move, so we moved,” said Tennessee Electric Motor Company President Eddie Grant, who moved his company to a locale near Robertson Avenue in West Nashville. His family has owned Sixth Avenue SoBro land since 1955.
Grant said he isn’t happy with the price awarded for the condemnation of his property.
“We’re still fighting,” he said. “It hasn’t gone to court yet, but it will.”
Metro, in conjunction with project Florence & Hutcheson Consulting Engineers, recently released a website, www.koreanveteransblvd.com, to update the public on the KVB extension project.