UTA has announced a forthcoming move to much bigger digs in Nashville, with plans to leave its current home at the Cummins Station complex in the first quarter of 2020 to make good on a signed lease on a major library building in the heart of downtown that’s being renovated for office use.
Once construction is complete on the new design from the firm of Hastings Architechture, UTA will make the move to a three-story building at 225 Polk Ave. that served as Nashville’s main library for 35 years after its completion in 1965. The former Ben West Library had been mostly dormant since ceasing to be a library in 2001, and its fate became the subject of considerable local speculation, given its location adjacent to the seat of government in Nashville, before Hastings purchased it and began a thorough redesign in 2017.
UTA is leasing more than 15,000 square feet in the renovated New Formalist landmark, which includes 46,000 square feet of total space.
The move reflects serious growth in UTA’s Nashville office, which the firm says has grown 20-fold since opening in 2012. The agency’s country music client roster includes veterans like Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Craig Morgan and Clint Black and rising stars such as Blanco Brown and Jimmie Allen.
“We are excited for our new space to serve as a great resource for the creative community and are committed to building our presence in Music City,” UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in a statement.
UTA released conceptual art of some of the spaces planned for the new headquarters, which will use space on all three floors and include an employee cafe and wellness room. Although the architectural renderings suggest a very modernist redo of the ’65 building, the company also said it plans to keep details from the library days to commemorate its origins, all the way to keeping a book drop.
The original library included a theater on the second floor that UTA plans to use as a performance space.
In 2017, the Tennessean reported that the city council had approved Hasting’s offer to buy the building for $2 million. Dissenting council members considered that a bargain basement price, given its $4.5 million appraisal and prime location in the heart of Nashville, but a majority approved, citing the projected $8.5 million cost a new owner faced in rehabilitating the facility.
In a web page devoted to its rehab of the former Ben West Library — built on land set aside by the Carnegie family early in the 20th century — Hasting wrote that “the revitalization of this architectural treasure relied on a fierce commitment to the original design intent,” citing the restoration of the marble facade and refurbishment of the terrazzo lobby floor stairs amid the considerable amount of adaptive reuse.