Meet The Melrose the MHN Excellence Silver in ‘Adaptive Reuse’

Nashville, Tenn.—A Silver winner in the MHN 2015 Excellence Awards Adaptive Reuse Category, The Melrose is a 220-unit apartment community and retail complex developed by Fulcher Investment Properties and The Parkes Cos. The developers transformed the site of what was once the Melrose Theatre building and retail shopping center, which was built in 1940.

In the 1980s, the theatre was converted into Scene 3 productions. The entire center was scheduled for demolition in 2005, but the developer demolished the bowling alley before the project fell apart prior to the economic downturn. The current ownership group purchased the property in 2012 with the intent of preserving The Melrose Theatre building and what was left of the retail center, and adding a residential component. The new owners transformed the site of the former bowling alley into a four-story apartment community.

See the full list of MHN 2015 Excellence Award winners here.

The historic Melrose Theatre and Shopping Center had gone through many revision, updates, reconstructions and neglect. The current partners’ immediate intention was to save the buildings’ character, which The City of Berry Hill supported and therefore cooperated in providing variances to the zoning code, saving the building and bringing it back to life.

For the apartment community, the amenity area was opened up to display a large two-story open area. Architectural elements by EOA Architects were added around the demonstration kitchen and theater/performance space that resembles a film reel. Openings were cut in the rear wall adjacent to the pool to provide for a folding glass wall system that can be opened 40-feet wide to provide a flow between the amenity space and pool area. The existing brick walls were saved and left exposed.

As for the retail space, the owners and landscape architects Humphreys & Partners Architects preserved as much of the buildings as possible, including the marble, canopies and brick bulkhead below the windows. The storefronts were replaced as the older wooded storefronts were deteriorated, and the retail spaces were extended back into the previous auditorium space.

The Sinema restaurant, an anchor tenant of the retail center, preserved the “movie” theme of the old lobby space, leaving the mirrors on the walls and ceiling as they were. The second floor, which was the original balcony of the movie theater, had to be partially removed and replaced.

The Sutler, a bar/restaurant in the shopping center for 30 years, was moved a few feet away from its original location, with an updated ambiance. An unused basement area became The Sutler Cellar, offering a more lounge-like area.