Small business owners don’t know if they will be included in new Belle Meade Plaza development

Business owners talk about the redevelopment plan of the Belle Meade Plaza that will result in four multi-story residential and retail buildings.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 9:15 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - There was a neighborhood meeting on Thursday night about whether Belle Meade Plaza should be torn down.

The shopping center has been around for more than 60 years and could soon be replaced by high-rise condos.

Belle Meade Jewelry and Repair is one locally owned business currently located in the shopping center. Owner Scott Isaacs opened the shop in Belle Meade Plaza in 2006.

“This is my dream,” Isaacs said. “I basically had a goal of opening my own store. Seventeen years ago, it actually came to fruition.”

His neighbors in the plaza include a Kroger, Starbucks and several other locally owned businesses.

Now there is a plan to tear it all down.

“I mean people are terrified,” Isaacs said.

Developer AJ Capital wants to replace the plaza with new retail and high-rise condos.

Metro Council member Kathleen Murphy said there would be more than 300 units and 600 parking spots. She said half of the development would be greenspace to help preserve the creek nearby.

A big concern for some is increased traffic on Harding Pike.

Murphy said the developer will be required to do a traffic impact study and make changes along the corridor.

WSMV4 asked Murphy if there will be room in the new development for the existing businesses.

“That is the request of the development team I will be making is more clarity what businesses, what size businesses, and if there are any requirements to protect our locally owned businesses,” Murphy said.

A site plan has been submitted to rezone and build a residential and retail development on the...
A site plan has been submitted to rezone and build a residential and retail development on the site of the current Belle Meade Plaza on Harding Pike.(Metropolitan Planning Commission)

Isaacs said while he would love his jewelry shop to be included in the new concept, he is sure it would mean paying more in rent.

“Small businesses don’t really have much of a chance in this new Nashville, and that is what is unfortunate,” Isaacs said.

If you missed Thursday’s neighborhood meeting, Murphy said there will be another one in about two weeks.