The Principal’s Update – June 2022

Woolworth theatre rendering

The Principal’s Update – June 2022

I hope everyone is staying cool in this summer weather. Despite the heat, we are very busy over here at Dowdle Construction. Here’s a look at several of the exciting projects we have in the works: 

Woolworth Theatre 

We are in the process of renovating the old Woolworth building on 5th Avenue downtown and converting it into an approximately 400-seat theater and a new cocktail lounge with some exciting partners including local entrepreneur and investor Rob Bellenfant and country music singer Chuck Wicks. The building is most well-known as home to one of the first Woolworth’s five and dime stores with a lunch counter that made it a popular spot for shopping and dining. In the Civil Rights era, the “whites-only” lunch counter became a hotbed for sit-ins and protest activity organized by students attending nearby historically Black colleges, including future U.S. Congressman John Lewis. Because of this, 5th Avenue North was renamed to Rep. John Lewis Way and the building is on the historic registry as part of the Fifth Avenue Historic District. 

While the retail store was closed in the 1990s (along with most of the other U.S. locations), it was later reopened as the Woolworth on 5th restaurant, which only recently closed due to COVID-19 challenges. Now, the Woolworth Theatre owners want to preserve this important piece of Nashville’s history (our specialty!). We completed the core and shell of the 17,000-square-foot space a few years ago, and we’re thrilled to continue the project, which is expected to be completed later this summer.

Sunnyside Mansion Renovation 

We’ve been commissioned by the Metro Nashville Parks Department to make renovations on two historically registered structures in Sevier Park in the 12South neighborhood. We will be making some small improvements to the Antebellum-era Sunnyside Mansion, including enhancing its entrance and improving parking. It underwent a more major renovation in 2004, and currently houses the Metropolitan Historical Commission and Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission. We will also be dismantling and reconstructing the adjacent log cabin, which served as temporary housing while the mansion was originally being built in the 1800s. Park visitors will be able to take a look inside and see how people might have lived in that time. We are scheduled to get construction underway in July. 

Be on the lookout for more project updates on our website!

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