By Betsy Thorpe
On July 14 Harris Teeter opened a two-story, 57,000 square foot grocery store as the anchor retail tenant in the Belle Meade Town Center and as part of the Belle Meade Theatre redevelopment project. The new store, located behind the theatre’s landmark marquee, offers a wide assortment of products including Farmers Market produce; Fisherman’s Market seafood; and Fresh Foods Market deli and bakery items. A variety of green building practices were implemented in the construction of the new store, including an energy management program that uses high efficiency equipment, as well as an energy efficient roofing system and non-ozone depleting refrigeration equipment. The store is also utilizing high efficiency water heaters to use heat that is reclaimed from the refrigeration system. The new Harris Teeter Grocery also offers a convenient recycling center in the store’s lobby where shoppers can drop off paper items as well as plastic grocery bags, dry cleaning film, newspaper bags, produce bags, and merchandise over wrap.
The redevelopment of the Belle Meade Theatre, an undertaking of developer Tony Giarratana includes the preservation of the theatre’s historic details. The iconic marquee, the scalloped facade and the two story lobby space that features a grand stairway leading to the mezzanine and a view of the elegant mirrored ceiling all remain part of the buildings original design. According to Giarratana, once the right tenant is located, the theatre’s lobby space will be leased and remodeled as a high-end restaurant, which he believes “the area would embrace and support. My partners and I had the opportunity to lease the space to several tenants that would have paid top dollar but wanted to substantially alter the historic character of the space, which was deemed unacceptable. The right tenant will be able to acknowledge the significance of the space to generations of Nashvillians and incorporate the historic elements into its interior design.”
The Belle Meade Theatre redevelopment project is bringing new life to the historic building that first opened in 1940. The theatre originally operated by the Crescent Amusement Company held seating for more than 1,000 patrons and remained a local neighborhood cinema until it closed its doors to movie goers in 1991.