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Old Convention Center To Provide New Shopping -- Sky Arnold

Downtown Nashville was a dramatically different place in the 50s and 60s.

Department stores loomed large on street corners and many people enjoyed looking at the displays in their windows.

Beth Odle created a collection of photographs from the period for the Nashville Public Library and she describes shopping downtown as some of her best childhood memories.

"All the streets that came off of church street had shopping on them," said Odle.  "It started disappearing I would say in the 70s.  I think people just started going more to the suburbs."

Buck Haltiwanger with Cushman and Wakefield Cornerstone says  the time to bring shopping back has come especially with the opening of the Music City Center.

"The number one practice of vacationers and conventioneers when they go on these things is shopping," said Haltiwanger.

Haltiwanger's real estate group believes have big plans to make that possible by re-envisioning the old convention center on Broadway.

The group wants to tear down the building and build a 28 story office tower with three levels of shopping beneath.

The idea is to not only give tourists a shopping option downtown but also attract locals.

 "I see this as the start of fulfilling that need downtown," said Haltiwanger.

Mayor Karl Dean is a supporter of the proposal.

Many of the financial and design details still need approval.