Axios Nashville

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Good morning, everyone. It's Thursday and the weekend is just a whisper away.

⛅️ Today's weather: Gradual clearing with a high of 87.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Nashville member Suzanne Bennett!

Today's newsletter is 890 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: East Bank could be "template" for Metro developments

A rendering shows plans for the East Bank. Image: Courtesy of Metro Planning

With the East Bank development agreement official, Mayor Freddie O'Connell and The Fallon Company took a victory lap yesterday, touting the creation of a new urban neighborhood.

Why it matters: The East Bank plan calls for hotels, retail space, affordable housing, a day care center and new streets lined with bike lanes, sidewalks and a transportation hub.

The intrigue: Fallon executives kept a low profile, mostly avoiding media interviews, while Metro Council considered legislation for the development deal.

Zoom out: Fallon CEO Michael Fallon tells Axios the Boston-based company is picky about the markets it enters.

  • "We like to make really big bets," Fallon says. "We're really selective. We like larger scale mixed-use projects that are longer term and require vision and require a lot of stakeholder relations and patience."
  • The East Bank project also closely mirrored the Fan Pier waterfront redevelopment project in Boston, which Fallon has been working on for about 20 years.

Zoom in: Large economic development deals in Nashville have typically come hand-in-hand with political rancor and resistance from the city's progressive wing. (Think about Geodis Park, the Oracle headquarters at River North and the new Titans stadium.)

Yes, but: The East Bank agreement sailed through council in part because the plan included many of the elements progressives sought with earlier development projects.

  • Fallon signed a memorandum of understanding with the Laborers' International Union of North America Local 386. Of the 1,550 housing units, 695 will be affordable. The deal also calls for a day care center, public green space and a ban on short-term rentals.

The bottom line: Metro Council's unanimous approval of the deal gives an early legislative victory to the new O'Connell administration.

  • O'Connell tells Axios he learned on the campaign trail and during the debate around the Titans stadium "people were feeling like our overall public investment strategy was not meeting the needs of the community."

The big picture: O'Connell said the East Bank deal offers "a template to do the same kind of work across the city."

  • "There are a lot of things we can take from this deal and make sure communities across Nashville really do start to realize these benefits," he says.
  • A similar model could be applied to the old Hickory Hollow mall, which figures to be the administration's next priority.

Go deeper for Councilmember Zulfat Suara's thoughts on the East Bank negotiations

2. A busy weekend awaits us

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

We've got a busy weekend coming up. It's time to start planning ahead.

ğŸŽ‰ Celebrating Diane Nash: City leaders are planning a day of celebration on Saturday to mark the dedication of Diane Nash Plaza outside the Historic Metro Courthouse.

  • Nash, a civil rights leader who was instrumental in the sit-ins that desegregated Nashville's downtown lunch counters, has accepted an invitation to attend the dedication.
  • Public buses will be free to encourage attendance.

ğŸŽ¶ Record Store Day: Vinyl lovers will descend on Nashville's record stores Saturday for a day of music, parties and limited-edition releases. Remember to show up early — lines start forming outside some local shops in the wee hours.

  • Rock band Paramore, which started in Franklin, are the ambassadors for this year's event.

ğŸŒŽ Earth Day festival: A gathering to celebrate nature's bounty will take place 11am-5pm Saturday at Centennial Park. There will be music, food and educational demonstrations.

ğŸŽ¤ Rites of Spring: Vanderbilt University's annual music festival will take place Saturday. The lineup includes rapper Young Nudy.

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3. Cledis seeks world domination by way of Bellevue

The Oklahoma Smash burger from Cledis. Photo: Nate Rau/Axios

The burger joint Cledis, which opened on Elm Hill Pike in 2022, is expanding into Bellevue.

Why it matters: Chef Shane Nasby wanted Cledis to stand alongside classic Nashville burger spots like Brown's and Gabby's. The newly announced expansion plans are a marker of his success.

Zoom out: Nasby and his family live in Bellevue. He previously co-owned HoneyFire BBQ there.

What we're watching: The Nasby family said the new location would open this fall. More details are forthcoming.

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4. The Setlist: Bible named one of Tennessee's state books

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

📖 Gov. Bill Lee signed a new law making the Aitken Bible one of Tennessee's official state books. The Aitken Bible was the first edition of the Bible printed in the United States during the Revolutionary War. (Tennessean)

🏒 Barry Trotz's first season as Nashville Predators general manager put the team back into the NHL playoffs. (The Associated Press)

🏥 TriStar Health wants to build a new $250 million hospital in Spring Hill. (Nashville Post)

5. Tennessee resident is releasing new music

Taylor Swift at the Grammys in February. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Tennessee resident and worldwide superstar Taylor Swift is releasing her 11th studio album "The Tortured Poets Department" at 11pm tonight.

The intrigue: Grimey's, the East Nashville record store with past ties to Swift, unveiled a new mural celebrating the album's arrival.

Between the lines: Ever the musical mastermind, Swift has sprinkled hints about her new work around the country. The Grimey's mural is next to a QR code that leads to a video of a typewriter typing the letter O, as in, "Oh Taylor, what does it all mean?"

Zoom in: In the runup to release day, Swift released playlists arranged around the stages of grief, intensifying speculation that this will be a breakup album.

Go deeper: Our Axios Cleveland colleague Troy Smith recently ranked Swift's songs from best to worst.

  • Reply to let us know what you think of his list while we wait for new songs to drop.

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Our picks:

ğŸŽµ Nate's song of the day is "Northern Lights" by Bowerbirds.

⏰ Adam is staying up late with Taylor Swift.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Chris Speckhard.