Vision and Marketing Concept. The community has expressed a desire to envision Downtown Madison as a place with a friendly, small-town feel; a village with a mix of uses; and a place that offers affordable opportunities for housing and for small, local and independent businesses. The historic building stock and character should be restored, but new infill development would be incorporated to ensure that downtown becomes more of a regional destination with a broad appeal to a mix of income levels and population groups. Ultimately, Downtown Madison would be best positioned, from a market perspective, with a destination draw in order to support those independent businesses that the community desires. There is a strong desire for community meeting space and civic space where residents can come together and celebrate Madison. At the same time, the community wants to ensure that, with destination appeal, the Downtown area and Gallatin Pike address parking, safety, and traffic issues. With the integration of rapid transit, Downtown Madison would be a premier location for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).
Business Mix. There would be a dramatic shift in Downtown Madison’s business mix from the current orientation (pawn shops, discount stores, hair supply) to more dining, entertainment, and specialty shopping.
- Madison Theater Culinary Arts Center. The 7th Day Adventist Church has played a crucial role in Madison’s history and the Church wants to maintain a prominent presence at the historic Madison Theatre. Based on an understanding of the Church’s mission, coupled with community needs and market potential for Downtown Madison, it is recommended that the building become a showcase for the church’s healthy food initiatives. In this capacity, the ground floor of the theatre should be re-formulated from a thrift shop to a contemporary full-service vegetarian restaurant and community food market. The Church would fulfill its mission by subsidizing a culinary art and restaurant/hospitality job training program open to community residents. A retail component would offer food and related health-care products created through the Church’s on- and off-site training programs and branded for sale in the market. The Church might consider the possibility of pursuing a partnership with Nashville State Community College’s new North Campus in supplying opportunities for students to participate in hands-on restaurant & hospitality management training. A partnership could help enhance funding opportunities for the operation.
Upper-floor spaces would be used to accommodate the food training programs as well as for community meeting space and rentals for other community-based non-profits. Art and live music would be encouraged in the restaurant space, so long as the Church’s standards do not restrict the market for the restaurant. Food pantry programs serving low-income residents would continue to operate in back, since they are wholly compatible with the operation of the restaurant and market. The façade and lights of the historic Madison Theater should be restored as possible because of its iconic status and as a symbol of Downtown Madison.