Gerald D. Hines ULI Urban Design Competition Entry. Nashville, TN

Awarded 1st Prize Cogburn Family Foundation Architecture and Urbanism Prize – School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin

Kevin Howard / Maria Coronado / Pathik Joshi / Clint Nef / Juan G. Yunda

Design Proposal

Uptown Mounds is Downtown Nashville’s new residential neighborhood. It provides opportunities for healthier urban lifestyles and adapts to the site’s hydrological conditions. This new development helps transitioning towards an urban living that embraces the environment and fosters a healthy community.

This project draws inspiration from the platform mounds built by the indigenous Mississippian culture. They occupied areas along the Mississippi River and its tributaries that were prone to flooding. The Mississippians built mounds to protect their most important and sacred buildings from the water. Uptown Mounds utilizes this design strategy to improve Nashville’s resiliency.

Currently, the site experiences severe damage and disruption during ooding. This development combines a series of strategies to enliven the neighborhood and adapt it to floods. Uptown Mounds adds value to the property and ecology of the site by integrating the flood waters with the landscape. The development is organized along a network of canals. It uses earthworks to create these flood ways and raise the buildings on mounds. The excavated soil from the park along the Music City Bikeway and the canals is used in building these mounds. The canals create a network of green infrastructure that connects Uptown Mounds to Downtown and the Cumberland River, creating an articulation between both natural and urban environments at a regional scale.

The relationship between nature and the built environment is enhanced at every scale in order to create resiliency. The design of the buildings includes PV panels for energy production and green roofs for residential urban farming. Each block has a sump that collects rainwater from the green roof and the courtyard’s bioswale. This water can be reused for non-potable uses or poured back to the canals. A healthy relationship with the environment is integrated with a healthy lifestyle in Uptown Mounds. The development is oriented towards alternative transportation modes. Structured parking for the residents is located towards the edges of the project to promote walking and biking inside the neighborhood. Inner streets are shared spaces intended to be pedestrian and bicycle friendly, while discouraging the use of the car. Uptown Mounds’ transportation mode split transitions from a 1 parking space per unit to 1 parking space for 0.4 units by 2025. As the development evolves, the number of transportation options for the residents will increase. Similarly, the development provides the community with a wide range of parks and recreational spaces for outdoor activity.

One of the main features of Uptown Mounds is the relocation of the Farmer’s Market to an existing warehouse structure that occupies the riverfront. This project recognizes the Market’s potential as cultural hub and reclaims the waterfront for the public. The new location enhances local economies and makes healthy food readily available to the community, while creating great potential for development on The Bicentennial Mall.

The Music City Bikeway serves to link the city and the river. The Bikeway connects a series of Nashville’s cultural destinations through landscape infrastructure. Uptown Mounds becomes Nashville’s premiere urban neighborhood and a catalyst for a healthier and more resilient lifestyle.

Financial Plan

Public Financing:
In order for this redevelopment to be feasible and mutually benecial we are asking the city to permit a nine year tax increment financing (TIF) schedule. In so doing we will also request that the city facilitate our acquisition of blocks A,B,C,D,E,G and M by declaring them eminent domain and purchasing the plots from the current owners slightly above current market values. This will allow us to secure a contract to purchase the properties from the city before we begin construction and ensure that Phase 1 development does not cause the aforementioned properties to appreciate beyond our financial capacity to acquire them. If municipal support is attained, we propose to dedicate space to house new city institutions including a library and country music museum near the end of Phase III.

Debt Financing:
The majority of the project will be funded by a secured senior construction loan of $700 million through a major insurance company or commercial bank with a projected loan interest rate of 2.125% above the prime market rate. The draw period will be years 1-9, with full repayment upon sale of the project at the end of year 10. A subordinated loan of $105 million charging 2.5% above the senior debt is anticipated and positive net cash ow beyond what is plowed back into development costs will be used to pay down this note. Full repayment is projected upon sale in year 10.

Equity Financing:
We will also seek an equity partner in the form of an equity opportunity fund to provide $160 million off financing which will be utilized on a 1:4 ratio of equity to debt drawn for the project. We feel that the potential of the project will be appealing to many firms and have not yet selected our equity partner.

Role: Team Leader

Software: AutoCAD; SketchUP; Adobe Photoshop; Adobe InDesign; Adobe Illustrator; MS Office

(Click here to access the presentation boards)

UM 01

UM 03

UM 02

UM 04



About juanyunda

Architect, M.Sc. Urban Studies. Interest: Urban Renewal Projects in Colombia, Austria, Germany, China and the U.S.

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