Can art

The Cannery

Downtown's historic Cannery building is being eyed for a seemingly major update — to include live music venue spaces to replace the eventually departing Mercy Lounge and its sister clubs.

Zach Liff, president of Cummins Station owner DZL and owner of the Cannery property, issued a statement Thursday afternoon expanding on the announcement that the tenant who operates Mercy Lounge, The High Watt, Cannery Ballroom and One will cease operations at the SoBro site in May 2022.

Liff said DZL plans to invest in improvements to the live music spaces and to the entirety of the Cannery complex. However, the statement does not note if the property’s building that features a Storyville U.S.A mural will remain or if future buildings will be constructed on the site.

“We expect a number of exciting announcements about the Cannery over the next 12 months, and we are planning for the entire Cannery complex to be a place our community enjoys and where music lives and thrives,” Liff said.

With an address of 1 Cannery Row, the property had been purchased in October 2019 by Liff and New York City-based global real estate company Thor Equities Group for $32 million. At the time, Thor said in a press release it hoped to eventually add mixed-use buildings with a collective 500,000 square feet to the 2.8-acre site (read here). Later, Liff bought out Thor for a dollar figure the Post has been unable to determine.

Liff said he first visited the Cannery for a show in the early 1990s, in what is now the High Watt space.

“I had a part in a show there myself as part of a nonprofit effort to raise money and awareness for food insecurity,” he said. "The lease on the venues building was operated by a different party (Chark Kinsolving) then, and when I stand in there now, I appreciate all the current lessee (Todd Ohlhauser) has done for the Cannery along with the Warner family, from whom DZL [and Thor] purchased the entire Cannery complex in 2019.”

DZL in recent years has made “significant investments” at both Cummins Station and the nearby Baggage Building (located next to Union Station Hotel) “to ensure these 120-year-old structures have a healthy future to build on their rich past,” Liff said.

“The Cannery complex, including the music venue building, needs that care now so it can have the life it deserves looking forward,” he said. “As the long-term owner of historic properties next door, and as a native Nashvillian, I love the Cannery and I bought it when it was unexpectedly going to be sold to make sure it remains and thrives along with our other historic properties well into the future. I have spent my entire professional life with my office next door to the Cannery, and I am as excited about its future and the stewardship of its character as anything we are working on.”

The 1883-constructed Cannery was originally a flour mill and later housed a coffee grinding and roasting operations.