In 2020, Dowdle Construction Group completed construction of the 1865 Condos, a much-anticipated development along the CSX railroad tracks on 21st Avenue in North Nashville. Cottage Partners commissioned Dowdle for the project, and Quirk Designs served as the architect.
The project entailed renovating a four-story, 28,800-square-foot, Civil-War-era tobacco warehouse into 34 condominiums. We also added a second, complementary building with 12 more residences, as well as a parking lot.
Named for the year the original building was constructed, 1865, the building was used as a warehouse for at least 90 years, according to research from the Metro Historical Commission. Sanborn maps from 1914 identify the building as the Weyman-Bruton Tobacco warehouse. Historical records show that it remained a tobacco warehouse until at least 1944, at which point it was owned by the U.S. Tobacco Company. Later maps indicate that, by 1957, it was a warehouse for Cullom & Ghertner Co. printers and lithographers. The exact use after that is unclear, but records confirm that it was abandoned for 20-30 years before Cottage Partners purchased the property in 2016. At that time, it was the oldest non-repurposed commercial structure in Nashville.
The renovation involved significant interior work and redesigning the exterior, while maintaining the building’s original industrial charm. We were able to salvage some original interior finishings, such as the exposed brick walls, which can be seen throughout the building.
A unique aspect of the interior design is the graffiti that had been left on the interior walls in some of the individual units from the time the building was abandoned. We decided not to remove it during renovation because the artwork, on top of the original exposed brick, gives those units charm and intrigue.
When Cottage Partners obtained the property, there was a clear gap in the market for condominiums for sale. The Cottage team loved the look and feel of the old building, and they were excited by the challenge and the opportunity to preserve such a special property with so much history.
Prospective buyers were drawn to it too, and all units were sold even before we finished construction. The final product creatively blends Nashville’s history with its present, and it has since spurred new development in the neighborhood.