By Ian Bradley – Reporter, Nashville Business Journal
Gallatin’s 665-acre Nexus development will reshape the city once construction is complete, and James Fenton, the executive director of the Gallatin Economic Development Agency, says it’s just another sign of the community’s continuing growth.
“We’ve had $2 billion invested in the city over the last three years, and we have close to a billion dollars of additional projects in the pipeline, some of them already going through the entitlements process,” Fenton said. “It just speaks to the continued growth happening here. We’ve grown 47% in the last six years. The 2015 special census put us at 34,474 people, and we’re now over 50,000 residents. The week of May 7 to May 12 alone there were more than 50 residential permits written.”
Perhaps the biggest indicator of Gallatin’s promise — the city didn’t offer any incentives to developer Kolter Land to make bring Nexus to fruition.
The project, which is being built north of the intersection of Red River Road and Highway 109, will bring over 2,000 new residences to the community — a mix of single-family homes, villas, townhomes, and apartments. The development will also include a mixed-use element and office park.
Like many cities in the region, Gallatin has wrestled with its transformation from a small, semi-rural town to a more densely developed community. Fenton said the Nexus project will skirt those issues because it’s on the perimeter of the community.
“The unique thing about this particular development is it’s on the northwest side of Gallatin and doesn’t necessarily directly impact the Gallatin that everyone knows,” Fenton said. “It’s going to become another center in and of itself in a way, because of the commercial element, the business park. It will allow people who have been here a long time to visit if they want and it won’t necessarily directly interfere with their lives.”
The commercial elements could also present the opportunities for residents to work in the community, rather than commute elsewhere. Fenton said there are around 13,000 residents that work outside the community, and 20,000 people who work in Gallatin but live in other cities.
The Nexus development is a sprawling addition to the city’s infrastructure, but it’s only one element of the growth plan. Fenton said he and the city’s leadership are working on redeveloping the downtown area.
“It’s time for us to start going up instead of out,” Fenton said.
“One thing we’re concentrating on is being self-sustaining, and self-contained. We won’t be a bedroom community. That’s not even on our radar. We want to make sure we’re providing jobs for the people that are here and continue to bring people to fill those jobs,” Fenton said. “That’s going to help us continue the commercial growth and provide the services that are being asked for. We don’t necessarily have fine dining yet, that’s something we’re moving toward, but we have to have the population and the density to support it.”