Metro breaks record for construction permits

Friday, January 28, 2022, Vol. 46, No. 4

As growth continues throughout Davidson County, Metro Nashville Codes and Building Safety Administration issued more than 14,600 building permits in 2021 valued at nearly $5.5 billion, a $900 million increase compared to 2021.

This is the first time in Metro history the city has issued more than 14,000 permits in a single year. The previous record was 12,561 permits in 2016.

More than $4 billion of the year’s valuation came from just 2,499 commercial construction permits. Permits can range from new construction to rehab or electrical and plumbing work.

Permit valuation for the 2020 calendar year was $4.6 billion for 11,482 building permits.

Vanderbilt, TVA solar farm under construction

Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Valley Authority, Nashville Electric Service, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation and Silicon Ranch Corporation have broken ground on a new solar farm in Bedford County.

The 35-megawatt Vanderbilt I Solar Farm is expected to begin producing power before the end of 2022, bringing new renewable generation to the Tennessee Valley.

Originally announced in January 2020, the partnership was the first of its kind under TVA’s nationally recognized Green Invest Program, which matches demand for green power from diverse business, industrial and organizational customers with new utility-scale solar projects located within the Valley.

In 2019, Vanderbilt announced its goal to power the campus entirely through renewable energy and become carbon neutral by 2050. The renewable generation from the Vanderbilt I will offset approximately 70% of Vanderbilt University’s annual Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of enough power to help serve more than 6,000 homes for one year.

Nashville-based Silicon Ranch is funding the project and plans to hire more than 250 craft workers, the majority of whom will be recruited from the Bedford County area and the military veteran community, to install the facility.

Study: MTSU creates $1.42B economic impact

Middle Tennessee State University continues to be a powerful economic engine for the region and the state, responsible for more than $1.42 billion in economic impact and almost 11,500 jobs statewide in 2021, a new economic report reveals.

In addition, the report by the Business and Economic Research Center in the Jones College of Business shows the university, as Murfreesboro’s second-largest employer (2,270 jobs), generates $143.6 million in local, state and federal tax revenue – a significant rise over 2017’s $88 million.

The study also shows MTSU brings nearly 300,000 people to Rutherford County each year. Spending by visitors account for more than $60 million, and that translates to almost 800 jobs. These results happened despite the impact that the pandemic had on travel and cancellation of events.

Full study and other BERC studies

WeGo Public Transit launches QuickTicket

WeGo Public Transit is launching a new, seamless payment system that allows riders to pay for their fare using a reloadable card, smartphone app or a non-reloadable ticket on WeGo routes, services and vehicles.

QuickTicket provides a scan, tap and go fare payment experience and addresses common customer frustrations:

• Having to carry cash to pay for the bus

• Having to go to WeGo Central to purchase passes

• Passes getting wrinkled or wet

• Lost change cards

• Out of service Ticket Vending Machines

QuickTicket features a smartphone app, a website to manage your account online, more durable cards, money protection, and the ability to get passes in more locations, all with the intention of making the fare payment process from purchase to boarding simpler and quicker for everyone.

This system also allows for fare capping on WeGo local service by loading stored value to a QuickTicket account. With fare capping, customers don’t need to figure out which pass to buy. They automatically get free transfers and will never pay more than the cost of an All-Day Pass in a day or a 31-Day Pass in a calendar month.

Riders can purchase a reloadable card at the Central Information Window, retail provider or at a ticket vending machine. To use the QuickTicket by WeGo app, simply download it from the App Store, Google Play, or wherever you get your apps.

QuickTicket also provides the rider with the ability to create an account, which protects the passes and money on the reloadable card. With an account, riders can track their history, add fare remotely, and transfer funds to new cards.

Traffic management center gets funding

Nashville will fully fund a new traffic management center with federal dollars, Mayor John Cooper says, as the city continues to improve transportation in neighborhoods and reduce drive times along busy corridors.

A $3.65 million grant – a state award of federal dollars, with no matching local funds required – will fund a technology-driven hub, where the Nashville Department of Transportation & Multimodal Infrastructure can better manage traffic signals, gather traffic-flow information and share updates with drivers in real time – all to improve safety and reduce congestion.

Since Nashville adopted the Metro Transportation Plan in December 2020, the city has secured eight grant and partnership awards for a total of nearly $44 million in fewer than two years.

At the hub – located at 700 Second Ave. S. – NDOT engineers and technicians will use advanced traffic signal control systems, sensor-based traffic monitoring technologies and other tools to monitor traffic and better manage congestion.

The center will be a clearinghouse for traffic-flow updates, which NDOT will share in real time on roadway dynamic message signs, on social media, on and with partners like the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and other Metro agencies.

Scenthound sets sights on Tennessee, Alabama

Scenthound, wellness-based approach to dog grooming, plans to open 10 stores or more between Birmingham and Nashville. The first location will open Feb. 1 in Birmingham.

Scenthound focuses on the five core areas of maintenance that all dogs need: skin, coat, ears, nails and teeth. Monthly memberships, starting at $29, include a bath, ear cleaning, nail clip and teeth brushing. Haircuts and other services can be added on as needed.

Nashvillle’s emids acquires CDR

Nashville-based emids, a digital engineering and transformation solutions to the health care and life sciences industry company, has acquired Cloud Development Resources, a provider of low-code, enterprise-grade business solutions and services on the OutSystems platform for some of the country’s leading and largest health care and life sciences companies.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, with 180 employees in the U.S. and Philippines, CDR is a premium and award-winning partner of OutSystems, delivering low-code consulting services to a wide variety of customers but with a particular focus on clients in the health care and life sciences industry. OutSystems is the world leader in low-code development, helping developers develop, deploy and manage a full range of applications through AI-powered tools since 2001.

The OutSystems modern application platform enables organizations of all sizes to deftly tackle any kind of critical application—from legacy modernization and workplace innovation to customer experience transformation—and build enterprise-grade apps and systems that transform their business faster.

emids has built its reputation as one of health care’s most trusted partners for health information technology engineering and development, bringing clients industry-leading data science, engineering, and business strategy acumen plus the ability to take an innovative idea from concept to MVP to full-scale enterprise solution and with speed to market.

Nashville’s Foh&boh, Slice partner for staffing

Nashville-based foh&boh, an innovative hiring platform, and Slice, the platform powering the nation’s largest network of independent pizzerias, are joining forces to assist restaurants who might be struggling to find staff.

The partnership allows 17,000 Slice pizzerias across the country to utilize the online recruiting platform to post and fill open positions.

Foh&boh launched in 2019 as a food tech company and has quickly accelerated to serve restaurants in over 50 markets with a sophisticated recruiting platform that provides a tight solution for hospitality companies who struggle with staggering turn-over rates.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Slice and help independent pizzerias across the country fill open positions,” says foh&boh CEO Halle Hayes. “We have the unique capabilities to utilize more than 60 job boards and instantly sort and match candidates based on listed criteria. We allow employers to meet the candidates where they are, whether that be their phone or computer.’’

Additional technology allows foh&boh to provide real-time data on job board analytics, competitor research and tools to showcase brands wanting to attract candidates.

GEODIS expands MyParcel to Canada

Brentwood-based GEODIS has expanded GEODIS MyParcel, a direct-to-customer intercontinental delivery service, to Canada to allow brands to continue growing their e-commerce business on a global scale.

GEODIS MyParcel was first launched in 2020 to offer a small parcel delivery service from the U.S. to 27 European countries.

As a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic, cross-border e-commerce activity has grown drastically as consumers have altered buying behaviors by increasingly turning to the online purchase of goods.

According to Statista, global retail e-commerce sales reached $4.3 trillion in 2020 and is expected to jump to $5.4 trillion in 2022. In particular, eMarketer reported the Canadian retail e-commerce market grew by an astounding 75% in 2020, the second fastest-growing market globally. Canadian e-commerce sales are predicted to top $500 billion in 2022.

GEODIS plans to continue expanding GEODIS MyParcel into new geographical areas in the future.