With more than 9,000 square feet of space, Nashville, Tennessee’s new Tech Hill Commons boasts a 150-person capacity event space, two executive conference rooms, a classroom-style learning center with a 48-person capacity, and the offices of the Nashville Technology Council.
Tech Hill Commons was launched via the partnership of the Nashville Technology Council and Comcast. While the NTC stewards the new space, Comcast outfitted it with a multi-gigabit broadband connection that supports free Wi-Fi and advanced video and phone services. Walking around and taking in the new carpet smell, the space seems ideal for launch events, company team retreats, and user group meetings.
One of the cooler aspects of the new space is located inside the Cisco-sponsored conference room, wherein lies the Cisco TelePresence MX700, a $50,000 video collaboration system that enables face-to-face remote meetings with high-fidelity sound and a dual-camera setup that can follow the speaker around the room. It’s just the thing for whiteboard brainstorming sessions or presenters with a flair for the dramatic.
Aside from the dozen or so electric guitars on the walls of the event space and the logos of sponsors on the glass doors of each conference room, there’s notably little decoration. NTC spokesperson Erin Miller said that, while there were a couple more pieces to be added, the sparseness is on purpose. “We’re a nonprofit, after all,” she said. “We didn’t want to spend too much on those things.”
Tech Hill Commons officially opened on May 2 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a technology expo for local innovators and tech education services, including 3D Technologies, Cisco, Digital Reasoning, Nash DevOps, and others. Since its “soft open” last March, the venue has been host to more than 20 tech and community events, taking in an estimated 1,000-plus visitors.
The list of companies and organizations that have committed financial and in-kind support to Tech Hill Commons reads like a list of Music City’s biggest employers: Nissan, Vanderbilt, Asurion, Cerner, Parallon, Lipscomb University.
Alex Curtis, director of communications and public affairs for NTC, was quick to point out that quite a few independent user groups are involved as well.
Located at 500 Interstate Boulevard, Tech Hill Commons is home to TechnologyAdvice, the Nashville Software School, and Eat Well Nashville. It’s at the Nolensville Corridor, just up the hill from the Tennessee Hospital Association’s old digs.
While it might look a little rough on the way in, one has got to love the proximity to downtown, Interstate 440, and Wedgewood Avenue. Not to mention—and this should come as no surprise to any Nashvillian—new construction is expected in the area. The Metro Council last year rezoned some spots for mixed-use development, allowing locally based Core Development to launch plans for 100-plus residential condos and the new home of Bongo Java Roasting Co.
In the meantime, the employees of the NTC make do with lunch from their neighbors at Eat Well Nashville. “Lunch is gratis,” Curtis said. “We worked out a nice deal.”