Josh Breslow – NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – More than 90,000 people living along a heavily traveled Interstate 24 call Antioch home.
While the exact boundaries seem to be up for debate, the common zip code is 37013.
"We’re too big to be a nice quaint East Nashville and we’re not a Brentwood," said Metro Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell. "All of Antioch is not alike. I’ve heard people say Upper Antioch and Lower Antioch."
Once a farming community in southeast Davidson County, the 1970s brought about a more suburban feel with construction of apartments, as well as the Hickory Hollow Mall and Starwood Amphitheater.
From that point on, Antioch’s population exploded. It more than doubled from an estimated 35,771 in 1990, to about 90,073 in 2015, based on the most recent American Community Survey.
With that incredible growth came overcrowded schools, heavy traffic congestion, and an uptick in crime, according to Dowell.
"It’s a densely populated area, just like downtown. You’re going to have people make bad decisions," she said. "One of the biggest things we’ve dealt with is property crime."
With the closing of Starwood in 2006, and the mall’s eventual downfall, businesses packed up and moved out of Antioch.
But in 2008, Ben Freeland bought a dead dealership and transformed it into the largest Chevy dealer in Tennessee.
"Everybody was kind of confused by the mall going out of business, and they thought that was the future of the area — the demise of the mall," said Freeland. "I really saw the growth underneath it, so I took a chance. Everybody warned me not to buy the dealership, but I went ahead and moved forward with it."
Over the last few years, Councilwoman Dowell said nearly a dozen big companies have moved to Antioch as stores and shops pop up all over.
It also seems that more people are buying houses and more families are moving into the area.
"When people can’t afford to really get closer into town, they’re looking for how much house they can get, bang for their buck, so they’re looking in places like Antioch for more affordable housing options," said realtor Tifinie Capehart.
As for the issue of crime, over the last 12 weeks of 2016, Metro police reported four of the top 13 intersections for violent crime in Nashville were in the 37013 zip code. Several spots along Bell Road made the list.
But over that same time period, zero spots in Antioch made the list of top areas for property crime.
"We’ve proven that the crime rates here are lower than the average in Nashville. In fact, they’re some of the lowest anywhere in Metro Nashville," Freeland said.
Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department
With job growth over the next 10 years predicted at about 41 percent in Antioch, the 37013 is showing no signs of slowing down.
"When people ask about the future of this community, I tell them I have absolutely no doubt that it will be thriving and it will be one of those places to be," Dowell said.
News 2 is exploring the pros and cons of the city’s growth in our Nashville 2017 project in every newscast Thursday, January 18. Click here for complete coverage.