The stubbornly middle-class western exclave of Bellevue has survived a flood, a mass exodus from its mall and ongoing library limbo. If any Nashville neighborhood deserves to sit down with a stiff drink or a bottle of wine, it’s this one.
Lucky for them, a liquor store — Bellevue’s first — is on its way.
For now, Bellevuers have to drive four-and-a-half miles to West Meade Wine & Liquor, a trek that is primarily on Harding Pike and no great treat for a drink-seeker battling rush hour traffic. Interior demolition has begun for the new store on the former site of a Rite Aid in the Belle Forest Shopping Center.
But it took the reversal of nearly 50 years of Metro law to get there.
When Davidson County went Metro in 1963, part of the plan to placate the wary residents who weren’t in Nashville proper was to divide the county into the Urban Services District (originally those parts of town actually within the old Nashville city limits) and the General Services District.
GSD folks would pay lower taxes but get fewer services and, for some reason, be denied stores where they could buy some high-test hooch and get loose without going to a bar. The USD/GSD distinction persists, and any shift from the status quo invariably causes some kind of a stir. After all, no one likes paying higher taxes, even if in exchange it means easy access to hard liquor.
Nonetheless, back in the spring, Councilmembers Emily Evans and Eric Crafton introduced a bill shifting more than 900 properties from the GSD to the USD, including the Rite-Aid property. Thus, the door was pushed open for Bellevue’s first booze mart. In the meantime, three certificates of compliance have been filed for liquor and wine sales in Bellevue.
Bellevue Wine and Spirits, which plans a summer open at the old Rite Aid, will win the race to the bottom of the bottle. The two other stores are slated for the Kroger Shopping Center on Highway 70 — brought into the USD via a bill filed by Councilman Bo Mitchell — and near the Sam’s Club on Old Hickory Boulevard.
Bellevue may not have a new library. Or a high school. Or a mall with stores. But soon enough, its residents can buy a bottle of bubbly to keep on hand for the celebration when they do.