How Wedgewood-Houston Became the Center of Nashville's Art Scene
Wedgewood-Houston, affectionately referred to as WeHo by many residents, has seen some of Nashville’s most dynamic evolution over the past decade. Once an industrial district known for its proximity to the former Nashville Sounds baseball stadium, this area is now home to Nashville’s most prestigious art galleries and avant-garde creative spaces.
With the opening of high-end dining, distillery, and brewery spaces, the neighborhood was profiled by the New York Times earlier this year for its emerging culinary and bar scene. Also, with houses being built every day alongside historic homes dating back to 1905, this neighborhood is trending up, and a median sale price in the high $400s reflects that.
The apex of Wedgewood-Houston is most certainly the massive factory structure that was home to the first business and workshops in the area, Houston Station. The 98,500-square-foot space is comprised of two brick and timber factory buildings at 434 and 438 Houston St. Constructed around the turn of the 20th century, the buildings were once home to the May Hosiery Mill and the American Syrup Company.
The space was largely vacant through the 1990s until it was purchased in 2005 by Houston Street Partners who began the restoration process. Now Houston Station is home to Bastion Bar and Restaurant, Cotten Music (the highest of high-end guitar purveyors), and, most recently, Hemingway's Bar and Hideaway.
The structure’s history as a space for makers undoubtedly set the tone for the neighborhood as a whole. The product might have changed, but the dedication to production hasn’t.
The Art Crawl
For many Nashville residents, especially natives, their first real experience with Wedgewood-Houston was through the art craw. On the first Saturday of every month, artists and art lovers alike can peruse the best that the city has to offer. Arts and Music at Wedgewood-Houston has art galleries, artist-run collectives, open studios, maker spaces, and pop-upsall within walking distance.
A New Approach to City Living
As is often the case with Nashville real estate development, mixed use is the name of the game, but the City Living Group is taking this trend a step further by offering retail and residential spaces that are literally mixed.
The Tennessean recently outlined this new concept in a profile of resident Stephen Richards. Richards owns a bespoke men’s clothing company that has a retail storefront on the ground floor of his property. The top level is a residential space where Richards lives.
The article also reports that the developer, Core, has plans for a 34-residence development at the intersection of Pillow Street and Merritt Avenue. Prices start in the mid $200s.Since Wedgewood-Houston is known as a haven for makers, this work-from-home and live-at-work lifestyle strikes the perfect balance for entrepreneurs and creators.
Raising the Bar
As more Nashvillians flock to the neighborhood, buying homes and condominiums, the restaurant and bar scene has risen to meet the need of the population boom. Wedgewood-Houston is even home to some of Nashville’s most popular breweries and distilleries like Corsair, Diskin (Middle Tennessee’s first craft cidery), and Jackelope’s The Ranch Taproom and Brewery.
A unique concept that arose from a building that was once a small church, Flamingo Cocktail Club and Falcon Coffee Bar is everyone’s new favorite watering hole. The structure has maintained its integrity, complete with a steeple, but the front room of the building is a typical coffee shop while the back room, which appears to have originally been the church sanctuary, is the cocktail club and dance floor. In the tradition of the modern speakeasy, Flamingo discourages phone use and all but bans open-toed shoes.
The newest addition to the landscape is the quickly beloved Humphrey’s Street, a coffee shop and soap company that centers all its efforts on giving back to the community. Housed under the local nonprofit, Harvest Hands, Humphrey’s Street employs 16 teenagers from the community every year and provides job training and financial literacy education.