Nashville, Tennessee


Architecture, Engineering, Experiential Design and Wayfinding, Interior Design, Planning


2009 LEED C&S Certified

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International real estate firm Hines had been exploring new opportunities in Nashville’s booming commercial real estate market for several years and sought to capitalize on downtown Nashville’s popular and evolving SoBro neighborhood just south of Broadway.

Gresham Smith led the design of a 390,000-square-foot office tower. The 25-floor structure sits across First Avenue from the new West Riverfront Park and Ascend Amphitheater. It is the newest addition to Nashville’s booming commercial-real estate portfolio, transforming the city’s skyline and the SoBro neighborhood.

In February 2020, the building sold for $264.1 million—a record price for the Nashville market.

square-feet of Class-A office space
square-feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space
space parking garage
the exterior of 222 Second Avenue South with a parking lot in front

Maximizing the Site

Hines’ development sits atop a 25,527-square-foot floor plate situated between downtown’s First and Second avenues. Getting the program to fit and operate a certain way while maximizing the available retail area was akin to a jigsaw puzzle. One of the biggest factors was how to accommodate parking. We needed to provide a certain ratio of parking to office space to remain competitive.

To achieve this, the design team stacked 10 floors with 1,100 available parking spaces on top of the allotted retail tenant space. Topping out the building massing, a 14-story glass office tower that rises above the parking floors provides 26,500 rentable square feet per floor. A subtle pattern of offset pairs of bright, white mullions animate the tower’s glass curtain-wall facade.

the lobby of the 222 Second Avenue South building

A Class-A Creative Design

Our client desired something slightly different from your typical Class-A space. They wanted it to be more ‘Nashville,’ and a bit more playful and lively. So we arrived at a natural stone tile in the lobby that’s slightly more subdued than some of Hines’ other lobby areas. We then added an internally illuminated feature wall that gives warmth to an otherwise crisp, white space, and provides a little more grit rather than polish.

the exterior of 222 Second Avenue South with an art installation

A Pedestrian-Friendly Streetscape

One of the design’s biggest contributions to downtown Nashville was providing sidewalks around the building that are equal to or bigger than the city’s street plan. Considering its relationship to First and Second avenues and the hundreds, if not thousands, of events that will take place in the downtown area over the next 20 to 30 years, this design will create a synergy between the pedestrian experience and local activities.

the 222 Second Avenue South outdoor terrace at sunset

A Roof with a View

The 3,653 square-foot green roof terrace is one of the defining characteristics of this development. A rooftop bar, fire pits, a variety of outdoor seating, and grassy spaces for games and activities are all features of this unique outdoor amenity. What’s really great about this terrace is that it extends the use of the building beyond a workplace into a magnet for after-work and weekend events.

a close up of the exterior of 222 Second Avenue South

Well Appointed and Amenity Rich

Beyond its variety of aesthetic forms and textures, the office tower’s amenities are what make the building a truly exceptional draw on the market. The 12th floor features a work café with Wi-Fi that is open to all tenants as an alternative work area so they don’t have to leave the building. The space provides multiple variations of seating that support small meetings, group interactions or social functions, and offers food and beverage options that include healthier choices. There’s also a large, shared conference room that is extremely flexible in how it can be arranged and used. A 2,300-square-foot, club-quality fitness center appointed with lockers and showers is available to all tenants.

A close up of the exterior of 222 Second Avenue South

A Better-Performing Building

Pre-certified LEED Silver, sustainability goals were a key driver in the office tower’s design. We set a target that 20 percent of the value of building materials would consist of recycled content and regional materials. To increase energy efficiency and occupant comfort, we used high-performance glass on the skin of the building. A key sustainability feature of the design is the green roof outdoor terrace area with its turf lawn and plantings. Using bright colors along with the white roof membrane, the heat of the sun is not absorbed and the building won’t contribute to the heat-island effect of the urban environment. Through the various sustainable design strategies we’ve incorporated into the project, the building will be 14 percent more efficient than other buildings of its type and size.

Set a Precedent

This project really has a home-grown, Nashville vibe to it. It offers a degree of efficiency to tenants that will allow them to be more flexible and to do more with their space over time. It’s something that’s incredibly unique for the market. It sets a precedent for what Class-A office space in Nashville is evolving into in terms of its amenities and how it contributes to the urban fabric.