Curious Nashville: The Construction Pit That Became Known As A Lake — And What’s Happening Now | Nashville Public Radio

Curious Nashville: The Construction Pit That Became Known As A Lake — And What’s Happening Now

Jun 24, 2019

For about a decade, a massive Nashville tower project has mostly consisted of a construction pit — eight stories deep and carved into gray limestone like a quarry.

When the project stalled, the hole filled with water and it became derisively nicknamed “Lake Palmer,” after its struggling developer at the time. It even appears as a lake on Google Maps.

The project has intrigued Curious Nashville listeners. One asked, simply, “What’s the story with the large hole in the ground at the West End and Broadway fork? It’s been there for 10 years and nothing!?”

Another wanted to know why the construction site is so deep.

So as a new owner begins work at the site, with ambitions as big as ever, WPLN’s Jason Moon Wilkins interviewed Adam Sichko, a senior reporter at the Nashville Business Journal who's been keeping tabs on the project

More: Read the transcript for this episode (PDF)

Sichko recently reported on the development team that’s looking to break the curse of the site.

He found that the Propst family of Alabama is now among the “hyper-ambitious” developers taking part in Nashville’s boom. Now known as Broadwest, the project calls for two towers, including a Hilton hotel and “the largest multi-tenant office building that’s been created in Nashville in the last dozen years.”

Seen here in 2016, the dig site was partially inundated with water.
Credit Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

“They decided once they started they weren’t going to stop, because they were aware of what the stigma or reputation of that development site was in the broader community,” Sichko said. “You’ve got to come out of the ground with everything at once, and that’s the biggest challenge that they face.”

The project could ignite development in a strip that, despite its proximity to downtown, has been slower to develop.

“All the action had been centered downtown,” he said, “But now there’s two tower cranes on site there, and there’s going to be four by the time construction is going full tilt. Very soon, that property, if it’s not already, will be back front and center.”

As photographed on June 21, 2019, work on the Broadwest project is well underway inside the pit known as Lake Palmer.
Credit Blake Farmer / WPLN

Podcast Credits: Curious Nashville is a project of Nashville Public Radio. The executive producer is Tony Gonzalez, with editing by Emily Siner and Anita Bugg, audio mastering by Carl Pedersen, and web production by Mack Linebaugh. The theme music is by Podington Bear.