Sneak peek: Boutique hotel wants to blend old and new in downtown Nashville

Eleanor Kennedy, Nashville Business Journal
October 27, 2017

When the Dream Nashville opens its doors one year from now, it will add more than just 169 hotel rooms to the increasingly active Fourth Avenue corridor on the north side of Broadway.

 Workers prepare to unveil the Dream Nashville sign on the historic Utopia Hotel Building on 4th Avenue.

Workers prepare to unveil the Dream Nashville sign on the historic Utopia Hotel Building on 4th Avenue.

The boutique hotel — one of four under construction within a two-block radius— is set to include a combination of six food and beverage options, including a brasserie, a music venue, a coffee shop and a few other concepts, the names of which have yet to be revealed. Those additions, which will be split between the hotel's Fourth Avenue main lobby and the well-known Printers Alley corridor at its rear, will add to ongoing growth in the restaurant scene along the Fourth and Fifth avenue corridors.

While development on that side of downtown still pales in comparison to the flurry of new hotels under construction in the flourishing SoBro district, a steady stream of new restaurants (and the aforementioned boutique hotel boom) seem poised to increase the north side's slate of options to woo Nashville residents and tourists alike.

For now, though, we're still a year from away from the Dream and its many "experiential" venues joining Nashville's downtown scene. But executives were on hand Monday to celebrate the topping out of the new 10-story building at the site of the historic Embers building.

In early 2016, the proposed demolition of that building sparked an outcry from Printers Alley preservationists, leading to Mayor Megan Barry's intervention and a deal to preserve the facade of the building that historically housed the Climax Saloon. Today the facade is stored in the midst of restoration prior to its reattachment, said Alex Marks, one of the Nashville developers behind the Dream project.


Dream Hotel Group and 4PANT LLC Celebrate Topping Out of Dream Nashville
Highly Anticipated Hotel Takes its Place in the Nashville Skyline


Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.
October 24, 2017

Developed by 4PANT LLC, in partnership with Dream Hotel Group, Dream Nashville will be a driving force in the ongoing restoration and revitalization of downtown Nashville. Located in historic Printers Alley at Fourth Avenue North, the 169-room hotel is expected to open with six experiential dining and nightlife venues in late 2018 and pairs Earl Swensson Architects with Meyer Davis Studio for interiors.

The topping out ceremony for Dream Nashville took place yesterday, Monday, October 23, 2017, and featured Vice Mayor David Briley as keynote speaker, as well as Executive Director of Planning Doug Sloan and key members of the Dream team, 4PANT principals Alex Marks and Bill Barkley and Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein. The evening commenced with a ceremonial reveal of the project’s new exterior signage on the former Utopia Hotel building and wrapped with a live musical performance by Nashville-based duo Striking Matches from Capitol Records.

“Dream Nashville represents where we’ve been and, more importantly, where we are going as a city,” said Vice Mayor David Briley. “The topping out of Dream marks one more step in the right direction for the world to visit and experience this rich and energetic city.”

The site consists of four buildings – the Climax Saloon, Utopia Hotel and two smaller buildings in between. “The Climax Saloon and Utopia Hotel were at the foundation of the Gentlemen’s Quarter, one of the most popular entertainment spots of the 19th century,” said Nashville lawyer and historian for the project David Ewing.

The development team was able to preserve the original steel stamp façade of the Climax Saloon, which first opened its doors in 1867, bringing a significant part of Printers Alley back to life, while still honoring the elegant late Victorian architecture of the neighborhood. The iconic stone exterior of the Utopia Hotel building was also fully restored with its original wood floors and crown molding. Built in 1891, the Utopia was designed by Ryman Auditorium architect Hugh C. Thompson and served as a brothel, gambling hall and whiskey saloon.

“We picked Printers Alley because we believe in its rich history of music and entertainment,” said Alex Marks, Principal Partner, 4PANT LLC. “The day it opens, Dream Nashville will join and enhance an iconic neighborhood that is already home to a dynamic blend of history and nightlife. Downtown is fast becoming a vibrant, integrated, mixed-use destination on a scale not seen in Nashville since the 1940's." 4PANT is the ownership entity of Dream Nashville, comprised of several Nashville natives who collectively want to help reinvent the Printers Alley historic district and bring a unique, upscale hospitality experience to Music City.

“All of us at Dream are proud to play a role in creating what will be one of the most spectacular rehabilitations in downtown Nashville,” said Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein. “We’re thrilled to introduce Dream as the new gem of Music City and a critical addition to our growing portfolio.”

With more visitors and business relocations in recent history, downtown Nashville is experiencing unprecedented economic growth and revitalization. Dream Nashville is expected to generate tax revenue and create new jobs, while also offering the growing residential and business communities a new reason to work and play in the neighborhood surrounding Printers Alley.

“Dream Nashville is a great example and representation of our success and future, while shining a new light on historic Printers Alley,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “An upscale boutique hotel, surrounded by great food and music, helps fill a fills a void and strengthens our product. This is truly a dream project on many levels.”

Printers Alley takes its name from its early connection with Nashville's printing, publishing and newspaper industry, then located in the immediate area. The alley also became the center of the city's nightlife and serviced the hotels, restaurants, and saloons fronting Fourth Avenue, which was known as the Gentlemen's Quarter in the late nineteenth century. Nightclubs opened in the 1940s, and the alley became a showcase for the talents of performers such as Boots Randolph, Chet Atkins, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, George Jones and Dottie West. Although the printers have long since gone, the world famous Printers Alley still remains as Nashville's dirty little secret. It didn't matter what you were looking for, you could find it there.

Construction for Dream Nashville began in October of 2016 and the project’s ceremonial topping out marks the next phase towards finalizing the iconic project. Dream Nashville will open with 169 guest rooms and suites and a mix of dynamic dining, nightlife and meeting spaces in late 2018.

About Dream Hotels
Born in 2004, Dream Hotels are individually curated properties that together comprise a unique narrative. The brand is underwritten by a design philosophy that is both surreal and contemporarily chic. Located in the United States and abroad, the design of each property is informed by its locale and taken to Dream status by a pool of world-renowned architects and interior designers. The result is a stay experience well-suited to the discerning traveler who seeks comfort in a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere. For more information, please visit

About Dream Hotel Group
Dream Hotel Group is a hotel brand and management company with a rich, 30-year history of managing properties in some of the world’s most highly competitive hotel environments. Home to its Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels brands, Dream Hotel Group encompasses three business lines: Proprietary Brands, Hotel Management and Dining & Nightlife. The Company is committed to the philosophy that forward-thinking design, service and guest experiences should be available across market segments. Dream Hotel Group is dedicated to offering travelers an authentic connection to their chosen destination through a truly original approach. For more information, please visit www.dreamhotelgroup.comand follow @dreamhotelgroup on Twitter.

Dream Nashville hotel coming to Printers Alley
New York company will manage 169-room boutique hotel for Nashville owners

Getahn Ward, The Tennessean
June 22, 2016

Dream Nashville will be the name of the 169-room boutique hotel that a Nashville development group is bringing to downtown's Printers Alley.

The name reflects an agreement locally owned 4PANT LLC has with Dream Hotel Group LLC. Under that deal, the New York-based hotel brand and management company will help to design and manage the Nashville hotel, which will carry the flag of its upscale lifestyle Dream Hotels brand.

"With a rich 30-year history of managing properties in some of the world’s most highly competitive hotel environments and a proven commitment to forward-thinking design, service and guest experiences, they are the ideal partner for this project," 4PANT Managing Member Alex Marks said in confirming Dream Hotel's role with the mixed-use hospitality project.

In a recent interview, Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein called the downtown Nashville site between Fourth Avenue North and Printers Alley an amazing location. "It's Music City, one of the most up-and-coming cities, and perfect for a lifestyle brand like ours," he told Travel Weekly magazine.

Demolition is underway at the Printers Alley-area site to make way for the boutique hotel development. The project drew much interest, including from local preservationists, because of its presence within the targeted footprint of the historic former Utopia Hotel and the 19th-century Embers building, which once housed a brothel known as the Climax Saloon.

Dream Nashville is expected to open in mid-2018. Nashville-based architecture firm ESa designed the project with New York design boutique Meyer Davis Studio Inc. expected to oversee interior design. Click here to read the rest of the story.


Printers Alley boutique hotel to receive $5.5 million in public financing

By Adam Sichko, Nashville Business Journal
July 15, 2015

The developers pursuing a boutique hotel in Nashville's historic Printers Alley are in position to receive $5.5 million of public aid.

On Wednesday, a committee of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency unanimously endorsed aid that the developers can use for a few purposes, including demolition or making improvements to public infrastructure. MDHA's full board is set to vote on the matter at its July 21 meeting, at which point the aid would become official.

Printers Alley, in the north part of downtown, is the city’s original hub of printing and publishing businesses. Printers Alley would later evolve into an entertainment district, including nightclubs and strip clubs, many of which have been displaced ( or chose to leave) as a result of the pending redevelopment.

The headline piece to the project is a 160-room boutique hotel, restoring one of the buildings in question to its original use. Developers have said a hotel brand has committed to the project, though they have not publicly identified that brand. Metro's Board of Zoning Appeals has allowed the project to go as high as 10 stories.

Read the rest of the story online here.

Printers Alley.jpg


More Subdivisions Preserving Green Space

Bill Lewis, The Tennessean
December 16, 2014

Don Simcock and Kim Shacklock have the best of both worlds: a house in the country surrounded by woodlands and wildlife, not concrete and asphalt, but with all the comforts of living in a growing subdivision.

When you think of a typical subdivision, images of streets, sidewalks and houses come to mind. But in some Williamson County subdivisions, there’s something else, too — lots of green space.

Neighborhoods like Kings’ Chapel, Stream Valley and Tollgate Village are preserving major portions of their land as green space instead of trying to maximize their profit by building on every available square foot of space. […]

In Stream Valley, on the south side of Franklin, about half of the land in the 345-acre subdivision is off limits to development. The community will have 824 homes when it is complete.

“We realized that open space was a main reason people want to buy a house in Stream Valley,” said Alex Marks, principal of Royal Investments, the subdivision’s developer. The company prepares lots for construction. All of the homes in the community are being built by Ryan Homes, a national builder.

A decision by Marks resulted in Stream Valley having even more undeveloped space than initially planned. Royal Investments, which bought the subdivision from another company, eliminated plans for a commercial section inside the community and is leaving the land open.

Stream Valley is just three miles south of downtown Franklin along Interstate 65, but neighbors can see horses on neighboring farms or walk along a historic carriage trail, Marks said.

“A lot of emphasis is being put on keeping green space and preserving what was there,” he said.

Read the article in its entirety here.


Utopia Appears on the Horizon

Nate Rau, The Tennessean
November 28, 2014


Once the pigeon droppings were washed away, the debris was cleaned up and the wilting ceiling panels were stabilized, partners Alex Marks and Bill Barkley got a clearer picture of the historic quality of the downtown Utopia building they purchased earlier this year.

In its heyday, the Utopia Hotel was the centerpiece of a booming downtown gentlemen’s district, where U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Rutherford B. Hayes visited.

Situated between Fourth Avenue and historic Printers Alley, the Utopia was designed by Hugh Cathcart Thompson, the famous architect of the Ryman Auditorium, to be a luxurious European-style hotel. Behind the hotel, built in 1891, visitors could partake in the gambling, dancing, partying and prostitution for which Printers Alley was initially known. A brothel called the Climax was two doors down.

Read the rest of the story online here.


Stream Valley Two Years Ahead of Schedule

Bill Lewis, The Tennessean
October 15, 2014

When Jason and Kristi Wyckoff moved from Chicago, they were looking for a safe place to raise their kids, good values in a home and a reasonable commute. They found what they were looking for in Stream Valley, the fast-growing subdivision on the south side of Franklin.

“We were also looking for a slower pace of life and a warmer climate. Franklin seemed like the place,” Jason Wyckoff said.

The Wyckoffs closed on their home in August, but they won’t be the new couple on the block for long. Royal Investments, the company developing Stream Valley, has announced a new phase to accommodate demand.

More than 120 lots have been sold in Stream Valley over the past two years. The new section will include sites for 57 more homes, said Alex Marks, principal of Royal Investments. After the first of the year, construction will begin on an amenity center and a community pool. That project is two years ahead of schedule and should be complete by next summer.

Read the rest of the story online here, and view a gallery from the story here.

Stream Valley article.jpg